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THE ROMAN MAGISTRI IN THE CIVIL AND MILITARY 
SERVICE OF THE EMPIRE 

By A. E. R. Boak 

THE following essay formed part of an investigation of the em- 
ployment of the word magister or Master, to use the English 
equivalent, as an official title by the Romans, the object being to dis- 
cover whether there existed any general principle or principles which, 
in specific cases, determined the use of this to the exclusion of other 
titles. As a basis for reaching a conclusion on this point an attempt 
has been made to show clearly, 

(i) what classes of officials enjoyed the title of Master, 

(2) how this title came to be employed in each instance, if that can 
be determined, 

(3) the character of the offices filled by and the sphere of compe- 
tence of the several Masters, and 

(4) the period during which, in the respective cases, this title con- 
tinued in use. 

The scope of this study has been limited to an examination, accord- 
ing to the preceding scheme, of such Masters as were officials of the 
imperial government during the Principate and Later Roman Empire. 
To simplify the discussion these Masters have been divided into the 
two classes of (1) Civil and (11) Military Officials, into which they 
naturally fall. 

I. Masters who were Imperial Officials in the Civil Service 
oe the Roman Empire 

The Masters who were imperial officers in the civil service of the 
Roman Empire may be classed as follows: 

(A) Masters engaged in the administration of the imperial finances. 

(B) Masters who were chiefs of the central secretarial bureaus. 

(C) The Master of the Offices and the Master of the Audiences. 1 

1 The Master of the Offices (magister ojjiciorum) has been omitted from the fol- 
lowing discussion, having been reserved to form the subject of a special study. 

73 



74 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

It is proposed first to consider separately the history and character 
of the several masterships falling within each of the above divisions, 
and then, from the results thus attained, to trace the general history 
of the use of the title Master in imperial official circles. 

(A) Masters engaged in the Administration of the Imperial Finances 
The Masters engaged in the administration of the imperial finances 
may be arranged in the following groups, of which the first includes 
such of these Masters as belong to the period of the Principate, while 
the other three embrace those who appeared during the transitional 
epoch of the third century or after the reorganization of the Roman 
governmental system effected by Diocletian and Constantine: 

(a) Masters and Deputy Masters who were imperial revenue offi- 

cers, 

(b) Masters who were officials of the res privata, 

(c) Masters who were officials of the fiscus, 

(d) Masters who were officers of the domus divina. 

(a) Masters and Deputy Masters who were Imperial Revenue Officers. 
From the end of the first and from the second century come a 
few inscriptions recording once a Master and several times Deputy 
Masters, who were imperial officials employed in collecting the rev- 
enues of the state or of the imperial exchequer. The tributes and taxes 
under the Principate at first were raised, as under the Republic, by 
companies of tax-farmers who purchased this right from the state. 1 
These companies were headed by a manceps or president but the man- 
agement of their finances was in the hands of a Master, at Rome, and 
Deputy Masters, in the various districts where the taxes were col- 
lected. 2 When these societies were gradually supplanted by the im- 
perial procurators, and the taxes raised directly by the government, it 
was but natural that, for a time at least, the titles of Master and 
Deputy Master should be employed for some of the new officials, es- 
pecially as contractors for the taxes themselves were taken up at times 
into the imperial service. 3 

1 Hirschfeld, Kaiserliche Verwaltungsbeamten bis auf Diocletian, pp. 77, 98, 99. 

2 Marquardt, Staalsverwaltung, 2, pp. 300 ff.; Cagnat, publicani in Daremberg el 
Saglio, Dictionnaire des AntiquiUs grecques el romaines, 4, 1, p. 752. 

» Hirschfeld, KVB. pp. 87, 88. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 75 

The epigraphical evidence for these Masters and Deputy Masters 
is very scanty, a fact which may be due to the comparatively unim- 
portant positions which they held. Apparently such officials had 
disappeared long before the reorganization of the revenues carried 
out by Diocletian. However, while these offices existed they, belong- 
ing as they did to the series of procuratorial appointments, were held 
by members of the equestrian order. 1 

Such Masters and Deputy Masters whose titles the inscriptions 
have preserved are the following: 

M agister XX hereditatium — Master of the five per cent inheritance 
tax, 

Promagister XX hereditatium — Deputy Master of the five per cent 
inheritance tax, 

Promagister hereditatium — Deputy Master of the inheritances, 

Promagister frumenti mancipalis — Deputy Master of the corn rent, 

Promagister portuum — Deputy Master of the port dues. 

Each of the above mentioned Masters or Deputy Masters will now 
be considered more closely. 

1. M agister XX Hereditatium — Master of the five per cent Inheri- 
tance Tax. 

An inscription from Lyon, which records the official career of Te- 
mistheus, father-in-law of the Emperor Gordian III, attributes to him 
the title of procurator in urbe magister XX, regularly completed by 
hereditatium? 

Cagnat 3 explains that there were at Rome two bureaus, one for 
the raising of this tax in the city and presided over by a procurator 
XX Romae, the other for the general control of the revenues derived 
from this tax elsewhere. The Master, he thinks, was in charge of the 
latter bureau. Further, he considers that the control of these two 
offices was sometimes in the hands of the same person, who would then 
be known as procurator in urbe, magister XX. He also holds that both 
bureaus were subject to a general superintendent — the procurator 
XX hereditatium. 

1 Cf . the inscriptions quoted below. 

* Wilmanns, Exempla Inscriptionum Latinarum, 1293, cf. Cagnat, fitude his- 
Unique sur les impdts indirects sous les Romains, p. 195; Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 103, n. 3. 
5 L. c. 



76 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

This view, however, does not seem reasonable nor is it borne out by 
evidence. On the contrary, the opinion of Hirschfeld, 1 who accepts 
the two bureaus at Rome but places the second under the procurator 
XX hereditatium, appears to be the only possible interpretation. 
Therefore the Master of the five per cent inheritance tax, with the 
title of procurator in urbe, magister XX, was the head of the local 
office for Rome. 

2. Promagister XX Hereditatium — Deputy Master of the five per 
cent Inheritance Tax. 

With the foregoing Master are to be associated the Deputy Masters 
engaged in the collection of the same tax. Of these latter we have the 
following examples: 

(i) C. Julius Flavianus who was Deputy Master after his tribunate 
in the seventh legion and before his procuratorship of the Maritime 
Alps. 2 

(2) Postumus who advanced from procurator of the libraries to 
procurator and Deputy Master of the inheritance tax and thence to 
procurator of the grain import at Ostia. 3 

(3) Q. Plotius Maximus, likewise procurator and Deputy Master, 
who, before filling that post was tribune of the sixth legion and, after- 
wards, became prefect of the post. 4 

(4) C. Lepidius Secundus who, like Flavianus and Maximus, was 
made Deputy Master after having served as a military tribune. 5 

These Deputy Masters, some of whom also bore the title procurator, 
can have been nothing else but subordinate officers of the central 
bureau for the control of the receipts from the inheritance tax. If 
they had been officials of the different stations for the collection of 
this tax in the provinces, their special districts would have been desig- 
nated. 6 With the combination of the titles procurator and Master 

1 KVB. pp. 104-105 with notes. 

2 Corpus Inscriptionum Latinarum, 6, 1620 Rome; 13, 181 2 Lugdunum. 

3 Id. 8, 20684, proc(uratori) Aug(usti) a bybliothecis, proc(uratori) vicesima[e 
promag]istro, proc(uratori) Aug(usti) [ad ann]ona(m) Osti{en)s(em). For the read- 
ing promag., not et mag., {Corpus) cf. Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 103, n. 3. 

4 Id. 9, 3835, 3836 Auxium, trib{unus) legiionis) VI victric(is), procurator) 
Aug(usti) promagist{er) XX hered{itatium) , praefectus vehiculorum. 

5 Id. 11, 1326 Luna. 

6 Cf. the examples quoted by Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 101, n. 2 ff. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 77 

one may compare the union of procurator and conductor in the form 
procurator Augusti conductor vectigalis eiusdem. 1 

The rank of the Deputy Masters may be seen from the inscriptions 
quoted, their office being one of the first steps in the procuratorial 
career. 

3. Promagister Hereditatium — Deputy Master of the Inheritances. 
An inscription from Lugdunum, 2 dating from the close of the second 

century, is dedicated to a Lucius Marius who began his official career 
with the position of promagister hereditatium. Later he was advanced 
to the post of procurator stationis hereditatium. In neither of these 
titles does the word hereditatium refer to the inheritance tax, as imme- 
diately before his appointment to the latter office Marius had been 
procurator XX hereditatium. It seems clear then that both Deputy 
Master and procurator " hereditatium " are to be considered as the 
titles of officials engaged in the administration of the hereditates, or 
inheritances which the emperor received by bequest. These inheri- 
tances were administered, probably from the time of Hadrian, in con- 
junction with the bona vacantia and caduca, by imperial officers. 3 

From this single inscription it is hard to determine the relation of 
the Deputy Master to the procurator. Hirschfeld 4 suggests that the 
former is to be considered as a higher assistant of the latter, and this 
seems a likely conjecture. 

As these inheritances had never been collected, like the taxes, by 
companies of tax-farmers, the appearance here of the title of Deputy 
Master can only be explained by the supposition that this bureau was 
organized on the model of that of the inheritance tax, where there 
were officers who had such a title. 

4. Promagister Frumenti Mancipalis, Promagister Portuum — Deputy 

Master of the Corn Rent, Deputy Master of the Port Dues. 
A series of inscriptions from Ephesus, belonging to the opening 
years of the second century, record dedications of a certain C. Vibius 

1 CIL. 3, 10,605, Rostowsew, Arch., Epig. Mitt. XIX, p. 136. 

2 CIL. 13, 1810, L. Mario L. f. Quir{ina) Perpetuo, pontifici, procuratori provin- 
ciarum Lugdunensis et Aquitaniae, procuratori stationis hereditatium, procuratori 
patrimonii, procuratori monetae, promagistro hereditatium. . . . 

3 Hirschfeld, KVB. pp. 110-117. 

4 Id. p. 117, n. 2. 



78 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

Salutaris, who was Deputy Master for the port dues of the province 
of Sicily and likewise Deputy Master of the corn rent. 1 He was then 
appointed prefect of a cohort of auxiliary troops. 

The phrase portuum provinciae Siciliae of the inscription evidently 
refers to the port dues (portoria) of that province, 2 and it is clear that 
this Deputy Master was an imperial official. Hirschfeld, following 
Rostowsew, 3 considers his position analogous to that of the contractors 
(conductores) who, in the second century, took the place of the publi- 
cans in collecting the revenues on the frontiers. That is to say, 
he was dependant upon the governmental administration and under- 
took the task of exacting the revenue in return for a definite sum. 
This is in accord with the general tendency of the period to supplant 
the societies of the tax-farmers by government officers. 4 

This same Vibius was, as we see from the inscription quoted, pro- 
magister frumenti mancipalis. This frumentum mancipcde was the ren- 
tal, usually paid in kind, from the public land which in Sicily even 
under the Empire was of large extent, and whose revenues fell into 
the imperial treasury (fiscus). s 

Under the Republic these revenues were collected by the usual 
societies of contractors. 6 Here, however, a government official, per- 
haps first appointed by Domitian, appears in charge of this work. 7 
As there is no trace of a special bureau with subordinate officials to 
manage the details of the collection of this rent, it is possible that 
the Deputy Master acted through the agency of the former companies 
of tax-farmers. 8 

1 CIL. 3, 14,195, 4-13, promag{ister) portuum provinciae Siciliae, item promag{is- 
ter) frumenti mancipalis, praef(ectus) cohor(tis) Asturum et GaUaecorum, trib(unus) 
miliftum) leg(ionis) XXII primigeniae p{ia) f{idelis), etc. The inscriptions are 
bilingual, the Greek for promagister portuum being dpx<I»^s Xin&osv kwapxtias S»k«- 
Xtas. Cf. the &pxi>vris ft. (= XXXX) \i<.n)hu»> 'Aaias ko» lirirpoxos S^ScurroD of 
Archaeologische Epigraphische Mitteilungen, XIX, p. 1, no. 36. 

2 Hirschfeld, K VB. p. 11. 

3 Staatspacht, pp. 393 f. 

* Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 84. 

5 Op. cit., p. 140. 

6 Cicero, in Verrem, passim. 

' The date of CIL. 3, 14,19s, 4 is 104 a.d. and Vibius held this post very early in 
his official career. 
8 Hirschfeld, I. c. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 79 

In these two instances there seems to be no doubt that the title 
Deputy Master was directly adopted from the societies of the publi- 
cans into the list of governmental official designations. The ranking 
of these offices of Deputy Master below that of a prefect of an auxil- 
iary cohort shows that they were inferior to the other positions con- 
ferring a similar title, which regularly ranked higher than the military 
tribunate. 1 

(b) Masters who were Officials of the Res Privata. 

From the time of Septimius Severus the term res privata was used 
to denote the personal property of the emperor in contrast to the 
patrimonium, or property adhering to the imperial title, and the do- 
mains of the state whose revenues flowed into the state treasury or 
fiscus. 2 

Among the officials engaged in the administration of the res privata 
the following Masters appear: 

(1) Magister Privatae — Master of the Res Privata, 

(2) Magister Privatae Aegypti et Libyae — Master of the Res Privata 

in Egypt and Libya, 

(3) Magister Privatae Rei Africae — Master of the Res Privata in 
Africa, 

(4) Masters of the Res Privata in other Provinces, 

(5) Magister Aeris she Privatae Rei — Master of the Res Privata in 
Pontus and Asia. 

These Masters will now be considered in the order given above. 

1. Magister Privatae — Master of the Res Privata. 

This Master, who might be called the Master of the Privy Purse, 
is known from four inscriptions of the end of the third and opening 

1 See above, sections 2 and 3. Perhaps another Master of this class is to be 
recognized in Cagnat, Inscriptions Graecae ad res Romanas pertinentes, 3, 1229. 
Canathae, KXau&os HXio&jpos TTXctKoo, tiayiarpos rptrwplov (p. <j>. $ou>bn)s, iKnctv, 
etc., as possibly voprupioi should have been written for vperuplov, cf. Waddington, 
Voyage Archeologique, no. 2350. 

2 For the fiscus, cf. Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 9; for the patrimonium and res privata, 
id. p. 25, " das Patrimonium ist von Severus bis auf Diocletian das Krongut, die 
res privata die Privatschatulle des Kaisers," cf. p. 43. 



80 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

of the fourth century. 1 The only one of these that can be definitely 
dated, namely CIL. 3, 12,044, is an imperial edict of the year 
314 A.D. 

It is known that the res privata was at first administered by a pro- 
curator, who had the title of -procurator rationis privatae. 2 However 
it seems that an inscription of the third century mentions a magister 
summae rationis privatae? who may be regarded as the successor of 
the procurator. If this assumption be correct, the Master here men- 
tioned, at the beginning of the fourth century, received the simpler 
title of magister privatae} 

That this Master was the chief of the department of the res privata, 
and not a subordinate official thereof, is clear from imperial constitu- 
tions where his position is parallel to that of the rationalis or chief of 
the fiscus, and where only one rationalis and one Master are mentioned, 
while all the prefects and governors of provinces are referred to. 5 
The advancement of Attius Felicianus from Master of the res privata 
to Viceprefect of the Watch 6 is in accord with the importance of this 
mastership. 

In the constitution of 314, dealing with the restoration of estates, 
which had been expropriated by the fiscus, to their original possessors, 
the bureau (officium) of the Master of the res privata is mentioned. 7 
Here we see that the Master, like the rationalis, had at his command 
procurators, probably for the separate provinces, who served in this 
bureau. Also we have proof that the bureau of this Master court 

1 CIL. 3, 12,043, s]uper i[taque] omnibus tarn ad praefectos nostros quam [etiam et] 
praesides et rationalem et magistrum privat[ae script]a direximus; 12,044 — ^OS ) IJ > 
26 ff., 42 ff.; 5, 2781, (ad) rali[onales et ad] magistrum privatae; 8, 822 C. Attio Fe- 
liciano . . . vicepraef(ecto) vigilum, mag(istro) summae privatae, magistro [summa]- 
rum rationum, etc. 

2 Hirschfeld, KVB. pp. 25, 43. 

3 CIL. 6, 1630, magister summ]ae rat(ionis) privatae. For the reading cf. Hirsch- 
feld, op. cit., I. c. 

4 CIL. 3, 12,043, I2 .°44) magister summae privatae in 8, 822. 

5 For CIL. 3, 12,043 see above; 3, 12,044, 42 ff-, quid super omnibus tarn praefectis 
nostris quam etiam praesidibus provinciarum, rationali quoque, et privat{ae) magistro 
scripsimus; cf. 5, 2781. 

6 CIL. 8, 822, quoted above. 

7 CIL. 3, 12,044, 26 ff., [in] officio rationalis et privatae magistri vel etiam procura- 
torum [u]triusque of[f}icii super possessionibus sive mancipiis lis inchoata, etc. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 81 

served as a court of justice in specific instances, in this case for claims 
regarding the ownership of estates in possession of the crown. 

Under Constantine I, at some time between 314 and 323, 1 the 
Master of the res privata was given the title of rationalis, a change 
which indicates that the administration of the res privata was ac- 
corded a position in the state equal to that of the fiscus. 2 

At the same time it seems that the title of magister privatae was as- 
sumed by the procurators in charge of the administration of the res 
privata in the different provinces. Thus it comes that we know of 
Masters of the res privata in Africa and in Egypt, and have references 
to such Masters in the provinces in general. 

2. Magister Privatae Aegypti et Libyae — Master of the Res Privata 
in Egypt and Libya. 

The title magister privatae Aegypti et Libyae appears in an inscrip- 
tion from Alexandria of the reign of Constantine I, 3 and this Master 
is also mentioned in a papyrus fragment of the early fourth century 4 
as well as in Athanasius' Apology to Constantius. 5 The Master of 
the res privata in Egypt was, therefore, an official of the first half of 
the fourth century. 

Now, since in Egypt the res privata developed from the Ptolemaic 
institution known as the ISios X6705, 6 the Master, in all probability, 
was the successor of the Idiologos, or kirlrpoTos iSiov \6yov, 7 an inter- 
mediate form in the development of this title being, as Wilcken 8 

1 CIL.6, 1133, 1704; Notizi degli Scavi 1899, p. 491; Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 37, n. 1. 
After 342 the rationalis had the title of comes privatarum, Mommsen ad CIL. 3, 
12,044, Notitia Dignitatum s. v. 

2 His, die Domdnen der romischen Kaiserzeit, p. 49; Hirschfeld, KVB. pp. 
43-44- 

3 CIL. 3, 18, Val(erius) Epifanius v(ir) p(erfectissimus), mag(ister) privatae 
Aegiypli) et Libiyae). 

4 Berliner Griechische Urkunden 927 — Mitteis und Wilcken, Grundzuge und Chres- 
tomathie der Papyruskunde, 1, 2, 176 (reading with the latter) [Ka.Ta]Ki\evtTiv toO 
diaffTj^oT&Tov, fiaylffrpov [ttjs] Trpiovanjs. 

6 Ch. 10, Pottpu/as icoi Zt&^opos u>i> 6 /xec ko86\i,k6s 6 Si nuyiaTpos — fjv iicei, 
i. e., at Alexandria. 

6 Hirschfeld, KVB. pp. 208, 343 ff.; Mitteis u. Wilcken, 1, 1, pp. 146 ff., 154 f. 

7 Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 358. 

8 Mitteis u. Wilcken, 1, 1, p. 163; cf. Wessely, Wiener Studien, 1002, p. 145. 



82 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

suggests, iwlrpoTos rrjs irpiovarris, which appears in a papyrus from 
the beginning of the fourth century. 

The Master of the res privata in Egypt, like the rationalis who was 
in charge of the fiscus in that province, 1 had the rank of perfectissi- 
mus? in Greek Siaarnxdraros. 3 However, the rationalis took prece- 
dence over the Master, 4 as the rationalis in charge of the fiscus at 
Rome ranked above the Master who superintended the central ad- 
ministration of the res privata. 

From the title borne by Valerius Epifanius 5 we see that the ad- 
ministration of the res privata in Libya was, for a time at least, in 
the hands of the official who directed the res privata in Egypt. The 
rationalis, however, was, as his title shows, 6 appointed for Egypt only. 

This Master of the res privata in Egypt is not mentioned in the 
Notitia Dignitatum, and it is probable that at the time of its compila- 
tion 7 his position was filled by one of the rationales rerum privatarum, 
who were the subordinates of the comes privatarum? 

3. M agister Privatae Rei Africae — Master of the Res Privata in 
Africa. 

The Master of the res privata in Africa is referred to in a constitu- 
tion of 319 a.d. addressed to the rationalis Africae, 9 while another of 
the following year was directed to Dometius Dracontius, magister 
privatae rei Africae. 10 Two other constitutions were addressed to the 
same Dracontius without the addition of his official title but while 
he still held this office, as their contents show. 11 

These imperial edicts concern the administration of the res privata 
in Africa. One deals with the joint proportional contribution of the 
rental (inlatio), when an imperial estate (fundus) was occupied by 

1 CIL. 3, 17, 4892. 3 Mitteis u. Wilcken, 1, 2, 178. 

2 CIL. 3, 18. * Athanasius, I. c. 
6 CIL. 3, 18, mag(ister) privatae Aeglypli) el Libiyae). 

6 CIL. 3, 17, ral(ionalis) Aeg(ypti). 

' The final recension of the Notitia Dignitatum had taken place by 425, Momm- 
sen, Hermes, XXXVI, p. 547. 

8 Not. Dig. or. p. 37 (ed. Seeck); Mommsen ad CIL. 3, 18; De Ruggiero, Di- 
zionario Epigrafico di Antichita Romana, 1, p. 288. 

9 Codex Theodosianus, 10, 1, 2. 

10 Id. 10, 1, 4, ad Dometium Dracontium mag{istrum) privatae rei Afric(ae). 

11 Id. 11, 19, 1, 321 A.D.; Codex Justinianus, n, 62, 2. under Constantine I. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 83 

several tenants. 1 Another discusses cases where the payments in 
money or in kind from estates occupied by minors, through the negli- 
gence of tutors or curators, had not been made by the appointed 
date. 2 The two remaining constitutions, which concern estates ex- 
empt from the authority of the fiscus, provide a penalty for the 
rationalis, the Master of the res privata, and their subordinates, in 
case they should have encroached upon such holdings. 3 

This Master of the res privata in Africa, like the official of similar 
name in Egypt, appeared, as has been seen, in the reign of Constan- 
tine I, and also had disappeared by the time of the compilation of the 
Notitia Dignitatum. But here the Master does not seem to have had 
a direct predecessor, like the Idiologos in Egypt, for the procurators 
of the several tractus or regiones were the sole representatives of the 
res privata or the patrimonium in Africa. 4 Therefore it would seem 
that this office was created by Constantine on the model of that pre- 
viously existing in Egypt. 

4. Masters of the Res Privata in other Provinces. 

It seems that, at the time when Masters of the res privata were 
appointed for Egypt and Africa, similar officials were created for 
many, if not for all, of the remaining provinces, although definite 
mention of any one of them is wanting. The evidence, however, for 
their presence is the following. 

Firstly, a constitution of 326 a.d. regulates the relations of the sons 
of comites, praesides, rationales and magistri privatae to the provincial 
curiales} This implies a number of Masters, apparently distributed 
throughout the provinces. 

Secondly, the appearance of Masters of the res privata at the same 
time in Egypt and Africa indicates a general administrative reform, 
for, if the imperial domain lands in Egypt occupied a peculiar posi- 
tion, in Africa apparently they did not. 

Finally, in the Notitia Dignitatum, we find in the East, under the 
orders of the comes rei privatae, officials called rationales rerum pri- 
vatarum; 6 and in the West, subject to the corresponding comes, similar 
officers for Illyricum, Italy, the city Rome and the urban regions with 

> C. Th. 11, 19, 1. * Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 43, n. 1. 

2 C. /. 11, 62, 2. 6 C. Th. 12, 1, 14. 

3 C. Th. 10, 1, 2 and 4. 6 N. D. or. p. 37. 



84 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

part of Faustina, Sicily, Africa, Spain, Gaul, the Five Provinces and 
Britain. 1 As the rationales succeeded the Masters in the control of 
the res privata in Egypt and in Africa, one is led to think that in the 
other provinces or dioceses for which the Notitia mentions rationales 
there had previously been Masters of the res privata. 2 

From these considerations the conclusion may be drawn that, at 
the time when the Master of the central bureau of the res privata was 
made a rationalist Constantine appointed for each province sepa- 
rately, or for groups of several provinces, Masters to supervise the 
administration of the res privata in these several districts, taking for 
his model Egypt, where such an official, although under a different 
name, already existed. 

It is not certain when the Masters became rationales. However, 
these latter were in charge of the res privata in the provinces in 366 
a.d., 4 and the probability is that when the chief of this department 
was raised from the rank of rationalis to that of comes, 5 the heads of 
the provincial bureaus received the title of rationalis. 

It has been seen that the Master of the res privata in Egypt and 
Libya enjoyed the rank of perfectissimus . One may conclude that 
the other Masters had the same standing. 

5. M agister Aeris sive Privatae Rei — Master of the Res Privata in 
Pontus and Asia. 
This title magister aeris sive privatae rei occurs in a constitution of 
Theodosius II which deals with the allowances of provision and fod- 
der due to all judges, whether spectabiles or clarissimi, who carried on 
civil or military administration throughout the provinces, and also 
to the comes commerciorum, the magister aeris sive privatae rei, and the 
rationalis for the diocese of Pontus and Asia, as well as to certain 
other officials. 6 

1 N. D. occ. p. 155. 2 Cf. His, Domanen, p. 55. 

3 I. e., between 314 and 323 a.d., see above. It is possible that Lactantius, de 
mortibus persecutorum, ch. 11, in saying that Diocletian created "rationales multi 
et magistri, etiam vicarii praefectorum," refers to these masters, but there is no 
other evidence for their presence at so early a date. 

« C. Th. 5, is, 20; cf. 10, 4, 3, 370 a.d. 

5 I. e., by 342, C. Th. 10, 10, 6. 

6 C. J. 1, 52, 1, 439 a.d., omnibus tarn viris spectabilibus quam viris clarissimis 
iudicibus, qui per provincias sive miltiarem sive civilem aiministrationem gerunt, nee 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 85 

Gothofredus read this text with no punctuation between ret and 
rationali, 1 so that the title was, in his opinion, magister aeris or pri- 
vatae ret rationalis. Further, he considered that this Master was the 
same as a rationalis summarum, which would be highly improbable 
if he were also a ret privatae rationalis, for the rationales rei privatae 
were the subordinates of the comes privatarum and were quite distinct 
from the rationales summarum who stood under the comes sacrarum 
largitionum. 2 

Since, in the constitution quoted, only one comes commerciorum, 
one Master, and one rationalis, are mentioned, it seems that the phrase 
per Ponticam et Asianam diocesin qualifies each of these titles. The 
Master, therefore, may be regarded as officiating for the whole dio- 
cese. For the presence of an official with a similar title in other de- 
partments there is no evidence. 

From the alternative title of this Master we see that he was an 
officer of the res privata. Now, according to the Notitia Dignitatum, 
which was compiled shortly before the publication of this constitu- 
tion of Theodosius II, the only officials who, at this period, were con- 
cerned with the administration of the res privata and who occupied 
a position of somewhat similar rank to the comes commerciorum were 
the rationales rerum privatarum. 3 Hence it seems highly probable 
that the Master in question was one of these rationales. It has been 
pointed out already that the Masters of the res privata throughout 
the provinces were superseded, in the course of the fourth century, 
by rationales, but it may be that in this case the title of magister 
privatae rei, for some unknown reason, had been preserved. For the 
other form of the title, magister aeris, I can see no explanation. 

If the reading adopted by Kriiger, which has been followed here, 
is correct, the rationalis referred to in the text would be one of the 
rationales summarum} 

(c) Masters who were Officials of the Fiscus. 

The fiscus, or treasury into which flowed the revenues falling to the 
emperor in his official capacity as head of the state, 8 employed, among 
other officers, some who had the title of Master. 

non comiti commerciorum, magistro aeris she privatae rei, rationali per Ponticam 
atque Asianam diocesin, etc. 

1 Commentary to C. Th. 10, i, 2. 2 N. D. or. pp. 36-37. s N. D., I. c. 

* Ci. N. D. or. p. 36. s Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 9. 



86 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

One of these, the Magister Summarum Rationum — Master of the 
Highest Accounts — was abolished in the reign of Constantine I. 
The others, who were called Magistri Lineae Vestis — Masters of the 
Linen Vestments — and Magistri Privatae (Vestis) — Masters of the 
Private Vestments, — appear in the fifth century when the term 
summae rationes had been superseded by that of sacrae largitiones — 
sacred largesses — as a designation for the administration of the state 
treasury. 

i. Magister Summarum Rationum — Master of the Highest Accounts. 

The title of this Master apparently developed from that of the pro- 
curator summarum rationum, who was a subordinate of the procurator a 
rationibus, later known as rationalis, the chief of the administration of 
the fiscus. 1 

It is impossible to determine precisely when the Master of the 
Highest Accounts was first appointed. The inscription of Attius 
Felicianus, 2 who held this office, dates from the end of the third cen- 
tury, 3 and the fragmentary record of another of these Masters, M. 
Julius Serenius, is to be placed at about the same time. 4 A reference 
in Eusebius 5 shows that the office existed under Diocletian. 

In the reign of Constantine I the title of Master of the Highest 
Accounts seems to have been altered to that of vicarius summae rei 
rationum? and later, probably when the rationalis became the Count 
of the Sacred Largesses, this office vanishes completely. 7 

There is scarcely anything known regarding the activities of this 
Master. However, from the reference of Eusebius to the career of 

1 Hirschfeld, KVB. pp. 31-39; Friedlander, Sittengeschichte Roms, 1, p. 172; 
Rostowsew in De Ruggiero, 3, p. 135. 

2 CIL. 8, 822; Bulletin de Comiti des traveaux historiques, 1893, p. 214, C. Attio 
Alcimo Feliciano, p(erfectissimo) v(iro), vicepraef(ecto) praet(orio), praef(ecto) an- 
nonae, vicepraef(ecto) vigtdum, mag(istro) summae privatae, mag(istro) (summd)rum 
rationum, curatori operis (thea)lri, proc(uratori) hereditatium, etc., cf. Hirschfeld, 
KVB. p. 487. 

3 Rostowsew in De Ruggiero, 3, p. 135; v. Rhoden in Pauly-Wissowa, Realen- 
cyclopadie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, 2, p. 2252. 

1 CIL. 6, 1618. 

5 Historia Ecclesiastica, 8, 11, 2. 

6 CIL. 6, 1704; Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 39, n. 1. 

7 Mommsen, Nuove Memorie del' Instituto, 1865, p. 324. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 87 

Aduactus, 1 it seems to follow clearly that he was an official of the fiscus 
and a subordinate of the rationalis, for this Aduactus, who was in the 
service of the fiscus, was first Master and afterwards rationalis? 

As can be seen from the career of Felicianus, the Master of the 
summae rationes ranked below the Master of the res privata, but above 
the procurators. 3 From the same inscription it seems likely that this 
Mastership did not bring with it the rank of perfectissimus, which the 
rationalis held, although it probably carried a salary of 300,000 ses- 
terces. 4 

2. Magistri Lineae Vestis and Magistri Privatae — Masters of the 
Linen and Private Vestments. 

These magistri lineae vestis and privatae are mentioned in the Notitia 
Dignitatum among the officials under the orders of the Count of the 
Sacred Largesses in the Eastern Empire. 5 The same titles are not 
found among the corresponding officers in the West, but their place is 
taken by the Count of the Robes (comes vestiarii).* The same Masters 
are referred to together in a constitution of 426 a.d. addressed to the 
Count of the Sacred Largesses, 7 which is the only other record of them 
that we have. 

However, in spite of this meagre evidence, the general character of 
the offices of these Masters is quite clear. The title magister lineae 
vestis — Master of the Linen Vestments — is self-explanatory; the 
vestments here included not only wearing apparel but also such articles 
as linen cloths, napkins, towels, and even tents. 8 In regard to the 
magistri privatae, it is probable that the full form of their title was 
magistri privatae vestis — Masters of the Private Vestments. 9 At all 

1 Eusebius, I.e. 5ia iracrijs SieSBdv avr/p tjjs wapk fiaaCKivai rinijs, <!>s ical t4j ko#6\ov 
Sioiiajtras tjjs xop' airrois KaXoviiemis nayiaTpSrtjTds t« nai koOoXucototoj. 

2 I have here accepted the interpretation of Hirschfeid, K VB. p. 39. Mommsen, 
however, explains nayurTpbrriTos as magister summae privatae, Nuov. Mem., 1865, 
p. 320. 

3 CIL. 8, 822, see above. Similarly the vicarius, the successorof the Master, ranked 
below the rationalis who superseded the Master of the res privata, CIL. 6, 1704. 

4 Hirschfeid, KVB. p. 435. « N. D. occ. p. 148. 
6 N. D. or. p. 36. ' C. J. n, 7, 14. 

8 Lintea, mappae, manlilia, papiliones; Pancirolus, Commentarium in Notitiam, 
ad loc. 

' Cf. the reading of C. /. 11, 7, 14, privatae vel lintae (= lineae) vestis magistri. 



88 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

events, although the title magistri privatae is the same as that borne by 
officials of the res private at an earlier period, the separation of these 
Masters from the bureau of the comes rerum privatarum and their posi- 
tion as subordinates in the department which administered the fiscus 
makes any connection between them and the earlier Masters of the res 
privata impossible. 1 

Clearer proof of the character of these Masters' activities is found in 
the constitution of Theodosius II cited already. This edict provided 
that the Masters of the Privata and Linen Vestments, as well as the 
overseers of the dye-works and cloth-factories, and other officials who 
held similar positions, should not be permitted to superintend any 
work in which the imperial treasury was concerned before they had 
deposited a certain caution. 2 Here we see that these Masters are 
placed among the overseers of the imperial factories. Now one of the 
most important industries thus conducted by the state was the manu- 
facture of linen goods, which was carried on by the guild of the lin- 
tiarii. 3 The duty of the Master of the Linen Vestments was, then, the 
superintendance of this linen manufacture, at least in so far as the pro- 
duction was destined for the use of the imperial household. The close 
connection between the activities of this Master and those of the 
Master of the Private Vestments, evidenced by their position in the 
Notitia Dignitatum as well as by the Theodosian constitution, leads to 
the conclusion that the sphere of the latter was the charge of the 
articles other than linen reserved for the imperial wardrobe. 4 This is 
in accord with the testimony of Cassiodorus 5 that at one time the care 
of the royal wardrobe was intrusted to the Count of the Sacred Lar- 
gesses, to whom the Masters in question were subordinated. 

1 This distinction has been pointed out already by Pancirolus, Commentarium 
ad too., and by Gothofredus on C. Th. 10, i, 2; cf. Booking's edition of the Notitia 
Dignitatum, 1, 2, p. 53, n. 13. 

2 C. J. 11, 7, 14, privatae vel linteae vestis magistri, thesaurum praepositi, vet 
baphiorum ac textrinorum procuratores, ceterique, quibus huiusmodi sollicitudo com- 
mititur, non ante ad rem sacri aerarii procurandam permittantur accidere quam 
satisdationibus dignis eorum administratio roboretur. 

3 C. Th. 10, 20, 16; Gothofredus on C. Th. 10, 20. 

4 Cf. Pancirolus, in Notitiam Dignitatum, ad comitem sacrarum largitionum. 

6 Variae, 6, 7, Vestis quoque sacra tibi antiquitius noscitur fuisse commissa ut 
quicquid ad splendorem regum perlinet tuis non minus ordinationibus oboediret. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 89 

The reason why these Masters were under the orders of the Count of 
the Sacred Largesses is that their functions affected the interests of the 
imperial treasury over which he presided. 1 

Pancirolus in his commentary to the Notitia Dignitatem considers 
these Masters to be the same as the procuratores rei privatae of an edict 
of Constantine I. 2 Inasmuch as these procurators had also to do 
with the imperial factories, it is quite possible that they later became 
the Masters here under discussion, a similar development in the official 
title having occurred in the cases of the Masters of the Highest Ac- 
counts and the res private. Also the rank of the Masters of the Linen 
and the Private Vestments was not much superior to that of the pro- 
curators, as may be seen from the Notitia and the constitution of 426 

A.D. 

In both of these documents the Masters are mentioned in the plural, 
but nothing is said regarding their number or location. In contrast we 
find only one such official in the Western Empire, namely the comes 
vestiarii. 

(d) Masters who were Officers of the Domus Divina. 

The domus divina consisted of a special class of imperial domains, 
which, in the latter half of the fourth century, were separated from the 
res privata and placed under an independent administration. 3 An 
important part of the domus divina was formed by the imperial do- 
mains in Cappadocia. These were at first administered by a Count of 
the Domains {comes domorum), who was a subordinate of the Royal 
Chamberlain (praepositus sacri cubiculi). 4 Later, in the reign of 
Justinian, this Count of the Domains was superseded by the Proconsul 
of Cappadocia, who also, as far as these domains were concerned, was 
responsible to the Chamberlain. 5 

The Count of the Domains had been assisted in his administration 
by an officium, of which the members were styled comitiani? This 
bureau in 536 a.d. came under the authority of the Proconsul of Cap- 

1 Cf. C. J. 11, 7, 14, quoted above. 

2 C. Th. 1, 32, 1 = C.J. 11, 17, 2. Pancirolus, I. c. 

3 His, die Domanen der rbmischen Kaiserzeit, pp. 75, 76. 

4 Id. 

5 J. Nov. 30, 536 A.D., His. p. 78. 

6 J. Nov. 30, 2; His, p. 77. 



90 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

padocia. 1 At that time it was presided over by thirteen priores 
(irpo>TivovTes) who were called magistri primi et secundi (/layicrTtpes 
xpfirot (ecu Sevrepoi). 2 These were probably the heads of a correspond- 
ing number of departments in the bureau, each of which directed the 
management of one of the thirteen large estates (domus, oiic'iai) that 
formed the domus divifia in Cappadocia. 3 It is not clear why these 
Masters were called " first " and " second," but perhaps these two 
classes indicated grades of seniority among the Masters corresponding 
to the importance of the estates for which they were responsible or the 
length of their service in the bureau. 

Justinian's reorganization was intended to check administrative 
abuses which had developed under the older regime. Accordingly, to 
secure a more effective collection of the rentals due from the imperial 
domains, thirteen exadores were appointed, one for each of the estates, 
and they alone had authority to raise this revenue. 4 These exadores 
were appointed by the Masters, 5 who, together with the whole bureau, 
were responsible for their conduct. 6 If, however, any of these exadores 
was unable to perform his duties, the Masters were to nominate an 
assistant (adiutor) to aid him and for this officer also they had to go 
surety with their persons and property. 7 

Evidently there had been a good deal of extortion practised by the 
superior officials of this bureau to the disadvantage of their inferiors 
because this form of " graft " was checked by the following provisions. 
Neither the thirteen Masters nor the exactors nor any other subordi- 
nate in the bureau were to make any contribution to the proconsul in 
office on account of their appointment or for any other cause. 8 How- 

1 /. Nov. 30, 2; His, p. 77. 2 Id. 

3 /. Nov. 30, 2. Domus or olda has here the same significance as saltus or massa, 
His, p. 68. 

* J. Nov. 30, 2, nominari autem volumus per {domum) unamquamque periculo 
totius comitiani officii et tredecim priorum, quos scilicet magistros primo's et secundos 
vocant, alios post ilhs continuo respondentes tredecim, unum sicut dictum est, per 
domum unamquamque. For the title exactores cf. id. 4. 

5 At least the Masters were entitled to receive a contribution from them on ac- 
count of their nomination, /. Nov. 30, 2, see below. 

6 /. Nov. 30, 2. 

7 Id. 4, sancimus autem tredecim priores magistros nee non et sequentes alium quem- 
piam adiutorem ei denominare periculo proprio <eO existantium eis rerum. 

8 /. Nov. 30, 2, nihil autem praebere penitus neque eos, qui dudum priores vocabantur 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 01 

ever, each of the exactores had to pay the sum of fifty solidi to the 
thirteen Masters. 1 But they were henceforth to be free from the 
oppressive payments previously extorted from them by the Masters 
and the Count of the Domains. 2 

This is all the information that we have in regard to these Masters 
and as no other mention of them occurs it is impossible to say whether 
such officials were found in the service of the domus divina elsewhere 
than in Cappadocia. 

(B) Masters, who were Chiefs of the Central Secretarial Bureaus 
Under the Principate there gradually developed, as the result of the 
concentration of the government in the hands of a single individual, a 
number of secretarial departments, through which the central execu- 
tive dispatched the correspondence and kept the records necessary for 
the administration of the empire. These departments were carried 
over, with minor changes, into the Later Empire. The officials at the 
head of several of these bureaus attained, in the course of the third 
century, the title of Master which they from this time on retained. 

The list of these Masters, who took their more specific titles from the 
bureaus over which they presided, is as follows. 

1. Magistri Scriniorum — Masters of the Scrinia. 

(a) Magister Memoriae — Master of the Memory, 

(b) Magistri Epistularum Latinarum et Graecarum — Masters of the 

Latin and Greek Correspondence, 

(c) Magister Libellorum — Master of the Petitions, 

(d) Magister Sacrarum Cognitionum — Master of the Sacred 

Inquests, 

(e) Magister Dispositionum — Master of the Imperial Schedules. 

2. Magister Censuum — Master of the Census. 

et secundi magistri, neque quos post eos tredecim sancivimus exactionem fiscalium 
celebrare neque alium comitiani officii [quo] per tempus spectabili proconsuli occasione 
denominationis aut alterius cuiuslibet causae, tantum quinquagenis solidis ab uno- 
quoque tredecim exactorum prioribus tredecim magistris praebendis. 

1 Id. 

2 Et magnam nobis fiscalium exactores debent gratiam profiteri liberantibus eos 
plurimis illis damnis, quae prius magistris praebebant et per tempus spectabili comiti et 
eius officio, id. 4. 



92 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

3. M agister Studiorum — Master of the Records. 
These Masters will now be considered in the order given above. 

1. Magistri Scriniorum — Masters of the Scrinia. 
(a) Magister Memoriae — Master of the Memory. 

The Master of the Memory, who had the seniority in rank among the 
Masters of the Scrinia, was the head of the scrinium memoriae. 1 His 
title developed from that of the official called a memoria under the 
Principate. 2 The form magister memoriae is found in Pollio's life of 
Claudius Gothicus (268-270 a.d.), 3 and Vopiscus, in his life of Carus, 4 
mentions a Julius Calpurnicus, qui ad memoriam dictabat, who was 
probably at the head of the same bureau. But perhaps the first certain 
appearance of the title in its final form is in the orations of Eumenes, 5 
who himself, about 305 a.d., held the office of Master of the Memory. 

Ammianus Marcellinus mentions four of these Masters, namely, 
Aedesio, ex-Master in 355, 6 Rusticus Julianus, who before his master- 
ship had been proconsul of Africa and afterwards became urban 
prefect, 7 Eupraxius, who from this post was promoted to the quaestor- 
ship, 8 and Festinus Tridentius, who was an ex-Master in 371 a.d. 9 
Eutropius 10 the compiler of the Brevia was also a Master of the Memory. 
Likewise three inscriptions of the fourth century record holders of this 
office. One of these was Saturninus Secundius, who was governor of 
Aquitania, Master of the Memory, Count of the first order and pro- 
consul of Africa. 11 Another was Sextilius Aedesius, whose career 
included the offices of Master of the Petitions, Master of the Corre- 

1 N. D. or. p. 44, occ. p. 161. 

2 Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 335; not from the a studiis, as Mommsen, Nuov. Mem. 
dell' Inst., 1865, pp. 328 ft., cf. Friedlander, Sittengeschichte, 1, no, n. 3. 

3 Vita Claudii, ch. 7. 

4 Vita Cari, ch. 8, for 283 a.d. 

5 4, 6; 4, "; 4, 14; 4, IS; S. i; 5> 2; 7, 1. 

6 Ex magistro memoriae, Hist., 15, 5, 3. 
' 27, 6, 2, 367 A.D. 

8 27, 6, 14, a.d. 367, cf. 28, 1, 25. 

9 29, 2, 21, magisterioque peracto. 

10 Fl. 376 a.d. For his position cf. the dedication of the Brevia. 

11 CIL. 6, 1764, Saturnino Secundio v(iro) c(larissimo) , praesidi provinciae Aqui- 
taniae, magislro memoriae, comiti primi ordinis, proconstdi Africae, etc. His master- 
ship dates before 361 a.d. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 93 

spondence, Master of the Memory and vicar of the prefects for the 
Spanish provinces. 1 This person was probably identical with the 
Aedesius of Ammianus, who was ex-Master in 355 a.d. 2 The third of 
these inscriptions is only a fragment where the title of ex-Master 
appears. 3 Further, an inscription of the fifth century mentions a 
Claudius Lepida, ex-consular of Germania Prima, ex-Master of the 
Memory and ex-Count of the res privata. 4 Finally, in one of the 
constitutions of Theodosius II, published in 438 a.d., Epigenes has 
the title of Count and Master of the Memory. 6 

As we see from the notices cited above, the Master of the Memory 
had the rank of clarissimus in the fourth century. 6 In the fifth, how- 
ever, he had attained the rank of spectabilis and the title of comes. 1 In 
the time of Diocletian his salary was 300,000 sesterces. 8 By the middle 
of the fourth century this Master had assumed that preeminence over 
the other Masters of the Scrinia which he still enjoyed in the following 
century. 9 This Master also ranked with the highest of the provincial 
governors, but lower than the vicars and the high officials of the central 
administration, such as the Count of the res privata or the quaestor. 10 

The functions of the Master of the Memory, as defined by the 
Notitia, consisted in the drawing up in outline of the short imperial 
decisions which did not come within the competence of the quaestor, 
in the despatching of the same, when completed, and in the answering 

1 CIL. 6, sjo, Sextttitis Agesilaus Aedesius v(ir) c(larissimus), . . . item magisler 
libellorum et cognilionum sacrarum, mag(ister) epistular(um), magisler memoriae, 
vicarius praefeclor(um) per Hispanias. 

2 Amm. 15, 5, 3. » CIL. 6, 8621, ex mag{istro) memoiriae). 

4 CIL. 12, 1524, CI. Lepida, ex consulari Germaniae Primae, ex mag{istro) memor- 
(iae), ex comi(te) rerum privat(arum). 409-413 a.d. 

6 Theodosianae Novellae, 1, 7, fin., Epigenes, v(ir) s(J>ectabilis), com{es) et mag- 
(ister) memoriae. 

6 CIL. 570, 1764, and Eutropius, v(ir) c(larissimus), magister memoriae in the 
dedication of his Brevia. 

7 Th. Nov. 1, 7; C. J. 12, 9, 1, 444 A.D. 

8 Trecena ilia sestertia quae sacrae memoriae magister acceperam, Eum. pro inst. 
sch. 11. 

9 CIL. 6, 570; If. D. II. cc. 

10 Cf. CIL. 6, 570, 1764; 12,1524. Julianus was proconsul of Africa before being 
appointed Master (Amm. 27, 6, 2), but Secundius was first Master, then proconsul, 
CIL. 6, 1764. 



94 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

of petitions. 1 From the latter part of these duties it can be seen that 
by the first quarter of the fifth century this Master had usurped in part 
the functions of the Masters of the Correspondence and the Petitions, 
and while these then merely received and reported upon the petitions 
(preces) the actual responses thereto were in his hands. It was also 
through the office of the Master of the Memory that military appoint- 
ments, as well as those made by the quaestor, 2 and the orders and 
nominations issued by the Master of the Offices, 3 were despatched. 

This development of the competence of the scrinium memoriae to the 
detriment of the other bureaus had already made considerable progress 
in the third century and was the result of the close relations which 
necessarily ensued between its chief and the person of the emperor. 4 

In the Byzantine Empire the Master of the Memory at first had the 
title of avriypafavs tijs /ic^t/s, 5 which was later changed to (6) iiri toov 
avafivqatuv. 6 

(b) Magistri Epistularum — Masters of the Correspondence. 

The Notitia Dignitatum mentions two Masters of the Correspon- 
dence, one for Latin and the other for Greek, in the Orient, 7 but only 
one, the Master of the Latin Correspondence, in the Occident. 8 This 
resulted from the official documents being published in two languages 
in the former, in only one in the latter, half of the Roman world. 
These Masters were the successors of the earlier officials called ab 
epislulis and ab episiulis Graecis. 9 

1 N. D. or. p. 44, adnotationes omnes dictat el emiltet, et precibus respondet {re- 
sponds tamen el precibus, occ. p. 161). On the meaning of adnolationes diclat (cf. 
qui ad memoriam diclabat, vit. Claud. 7, 2) vid. Booking, Notitia Dignitatum, pp. 325- 
327, 415, 6; Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 336. 

2 C. Th. 1, 8, 2 = C. J. i, 30, 1, 424 A.D. 

3 C. Th. 1, 8, 1, 415 A.D. 

4 On this point cf. Cuq, M (moire sur le concilium principis (M (moires d'Institut 
Francois, 1884) pp. 311 f. 

6 Petrus Patricius, Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum, 4, p. 189. 

6 Codinus, De officialibus palatii Constantinopolilani, pp. 11, 17; 41, 8 (Bekker). 

7 N. D. or. p. 44, magister epistularum Latinarum, magister epistularum Craecarum. 

8 Id. occ. p. 162. 

9 Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 318, n. 1 ; Bloch in Daremberg elSaglio, 2, pp. 723-724. For 
the origin and growth of this office see, besides the authors cited, Friedlander, 
Siltengeschichte, 1, p. 182; Rostowsew, Pauly-Wissowa, 6, pp. 210 ff. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 95 

Apart from the incorrect use of the title in the Historia Augusta, 1 the 
earliest references to a Master of the Correspondence come from the 
fourth century, in the inscription of Aedesius quoted in the foregoing 
section, 2 and in a fragmentary inscription from Africa. 3 Another 
mention of this officer is found in Symmachus. 4 Among the chiefs of 
the scrinia, the Master of the Latin Correspondence ranked below the 
Master of the Memory, but above the Master of the Petitions. 6 The 
Master of the Greek Correspondence, however, stood below the Master 
of the Petitions. 6 Like the Master of the Memory, this secretary 
doubtless ranked among the clarissimi in the fourth century. In the 
fifth he was also a speclabilis, with the title of comes. 7 At the time of 
Diocletian the Latin Secretary probably enjoyed a salary of 300,000 
sesterces, while his colleague of the Greek department seems to have 
received only 2oo,ooo. 8 

According to the Notitia, 9 the duty of the Master of the Correspon- 
dence was to examine and report upon the contents of documents pre- 
sented by delegations from dependent or independent peoples, upon 
questions referred to the emperor by officials seeking advice, and upon 
various petitions. The Master of the Greek Correspondence drew up 
the forms for the documents which had to be put into Greek, or trans- 
lated into that language the formulas which had previously been pre- 
pared in Latin. 10 The actual issuing of these documents apparently 
rested with the scrinium memoriae} 1 

1 Vita Hadriani n, Suetonio Tranquillo epistolarum magistro. 

2 CIL. 6, 570, Agesilaus Aedesius v. c. . . . , mag(ister) epislularium) . 

3 Ephemeris Epigraphica, 8, 262, . . . io Saiuslio, . . . , adleclo (magis)lro 
epistularium) . 

4 Epistulae, 7, 60. 

6 CIL. 6, 510; N. D. or. p. 44, occ. p. 162. 

6 N. D. or. I. c. 

1 C. J . 12, 9, 1, 444 A.D., wis speclabilibus magistris omnium sacrorum scriniorum. 

8 Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 435, n. 3. 

9 N. D., II. cc., legationes civitatium, consultationes el prices tractat. On tractare 
cf. Booking, Notitia Dignitalum, 2, p. 417, n. 7; Hirschfeld, KVB. pp. 322 ff. The 
competence of the earlier ab epistulis was greater but the office had lost by the de- 
velopment of the scrinium memoriae, cf. Cuq and Hirschfeld, 11. cc. 

10 Eas epistolas, quae graece solenl emitti, out ipse dictat aut laiine dictatas transferl in 
Graecum, N. D. or. p. 44. 

11 Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 357, and above. 



96 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

(c) Magister Libellorum — Master of the Petitions. 

In the case of the Master of the Petitions we have inscriptional 
evidence for the transformation of the title of his office from the form 
a libellis. The intermediate form was magister a libellis. 1 When this 
latter title was in use is not absolutely certain, but it cannot have been 
later than the third century, by the end of which the forms like magister 
memoriae, etc., had developed. 2 

Two inscriptions of the early fourth century give the title Master of 
the Petitions {magister libellorum),* but another shows that this officer 
was called Master of the Petitions and Sacred Inquests {magister 
libellorum et sacrarum cognitionum) shortly after 350 a.d.* Further, 
Ammianus has one reference to him as the " answerer of petitions." 6 
The Notitia has the older form of Master of the Petitions, 6 which is also 
found in a constitution of Theodosius II from the year 438 a.d. 7 How- 
ever, in the constitution tanta of 533 we again meet with the title of 
Master of the Petitions and Sacred Inquests. 8 

These notices reveal that in the course of the fourth century the 
scrinium libellorum was united with that of the cognitiones , and, for a 
time, bore the title of scrinium libellorum et sacrarum cognitionum. 
From the end of the fourth century until early in the sixth this office 
had once more the simpler title of scrinium libellorum? but in the 
opening years of Justinian's reign it appears again as scrinium libel- 
lorum sacrarumque cognitionum. 10 

1 CIL. 6, 1628, magistro a libellis, (mjagistro a censibus. 

2 Eumenes, pro instr. sch. 11. 

3 CIL. 6, 1704, C. Caelio Satumino v(iro) cQarissimo) . . . , vicario a consiliis 
sacris, magistro studiorum, magistro libellorum, etc., before 324 a.d. CIL. 10, 1487, 
magistro (libet)lorum, cf. Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 334, n. 1. 

4 CIL. 6, 510, magister libellor{um) et cognition(um) sacrarum; cf. Amm. 15, 5, 3, 
and magister memoriae above. 

6 20, 9, 8, 360 a.d., libellis respondens. 

6 Magister libellorum, N. D. or. p. 44, occ. p. 162. 

7 Tk. Nov. 1, 7, Procopius, v(ir) sipectabilis) , com(es) et magister libellorum. 

8 C. J. 1, 17, 2, 9, Constantirmm, virum illustrem, comitem sacrarum largitionum et 
magistrum scrinii libellorum sacrarumque cognitionum = dn-t-ypo^eo tov Oaov VKpiviov 
T&v re Beltav Xt/SiXXwf koX t&v PcktiXlkgjv HiayvdHTccov. 

9 C. /. 12, 9, I, 386 A.D.; 9, 3, 396; 9, 4, 407; 9, 6, 416; 9, io, 498; 9, 11, 518. 
10 C. /. 1, 17, 2, 9, 533 a.d. or sacrorum libellorum et cognitionum, id. 12, 19, 15, 

527- 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 97 

The Master of the Petitions ranked below the Master of the Corre- 
spondence, 1 but, like the other Masters of these bureaus, he probably 
had a salary of 300,000 sesterces under Diocletian and was a clarissimus 
in the fourth century. 2 In the fifth he was a spectabilis and could have 
the titles of comes? We have seen that in 533 Constantine, Count of 
the Sacred Largesses and Master of the Petitions, was an illustris.* 
However it is not certain that this latter office of itself could confer 
upon its holder the illustrissimate. 

The duties of this Master consisted in the investigation of petitions 
and matters connected with the imperial inquests. 6 At first this 
office seems to have handled only the private petitions, 6 but from the 
time of its union with the bureau of the sacrae cognitiones the investi- 
gations conducted by the emperor came under its competence. 7 Thus 
we find that the Masters of the Petitions were frequently jurists, 8 and 
the contemporary holders of this office were concerned in the compila- 
tion of the Theodosian Code 9 and Justinian's Digest. 10 The answers 
to the petitions received in this office were, as has been pointed out, 
despatched through the scrinium memoriae. 11 

The Greek title of this Master at the time of Justinian was avnypa- 
<btvs tov Qdov OKpwiov tSjv re deixav Xi/SeXXcoj' ical tSiv 0a<n\iKO)v Siayvi>- 
at<i)v, n later, in the Byzantine epoch, it became 6 eirl t&v dericrtwv. 1 * 

(d) Magister Sacrarum Cognitionum — Master of the Sacred Inquests. 

Although this Master of the Sacred Inquests does not appear among 
the Masters of the Scrinia in the Notitia Dignitatum nor in the Codes, 
and although there is no example of this title from the fourth century, 
yet, because his office was absorbed by that of the Master of the Peti- 
tions, and because he at one time occupied the position of a chef de 

1 CIL. 6, 510; N. D. II. cc. > Th. Nov. i, 7; C. J. 12, 9, 1. 

2 Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 435. * C. /. 1, 17, 2, 9. 

5 Cognitiones et preces tractat, N. D. II. cc. 

6 Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 329. 

7 Cuq, le magister sacrarum cognitionum, pp. 15 ff. 

8 Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 329. » Th. Nov. 1, 7. 10 C. /. 1, 17, 2, 9. 

11 On the development of this office cf. Cuq, le magister sacrarum cognitionum; 
Karlowa, R'omische Rechtsgeschichte, 1, p. 545; Hirschfeld, K VB. p. 326; Thenedat 
in Daremberg el Saglio, 3, p. 1174. 

n C J.l. c. 13 Codinus, pp. 11, 3; 39, 22 (Bekker). 



98 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

bureau like the latter official, it seems right to give him a place here 
among the other Masters of the Scrinia. 

The title magister sacrarum cognitionum occurs only once and then in 
an inscription from Aquileia in honor of Quintus Axilius Urbicus who, 
before filling this mastership, had been a studiis and a consiliis Augus- 
torum. 1 The date of this inscription is uncertain. Hirschfeld 2 thinks 
that the emperors referred to may possibly have been the Philips (247- 
249 a.d.), while Cuq 3 would make them Diocletian and Maximian (286- 
305). However, it seems certain that the Master of the Sacred 
Inquests was the successor of the a cognitionibus, although the develop- 
ment of his title was exceptional, in that it at one time had the form 
procurator sacrarum cognitionum.* 

This Master had, as we see from the inscription quoted, the rank of 
perfectissimus. 

The Master of the Sacred Inquests was concerned, as his title indi- 
cates, with the cognitiones or judicial investigations personally con- 
ducted by the emperor. His duty was probably to prepare the 
information necessary for the rendering of the imperial decision. 5 

Regarding the union of this office with that of the Petitions we have 
no direct information. However, as has been seen, the title magister 
libellorum et sacrarum cognitionum, which was in use previous to 376/ 
and the definition of the duties of the Master of the Petitions found in 
the Notitia, 7 show that it was accomplished in the fourth century at the 
latest. The reason therefor was probably that the imperial inquests 
became more and more rare, and, finally, were practically limited to 
cases of appeal, so that a separate bureau for the handling of the docu- 
ments connected with such cases was no longer a necessity, and the 

1 CIL. 5, 8972, Q.Axilio Urbico, viro perfectissimo, magislro sacrarum cognitionum, 
a studiis et a consiliis Aug(ustorum) , etc. 

2 KVB. p. 330, n. 3. 

3 O. c. p. 136. 

4 Bullelino Comunale, 1898, p. 42; Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 330, n. 2. For the devel- 
opment of this office cf . the references given for the magister libellorum, especially 
Cuq; also Thenedat, Daremberg et Saglio, 1, 1285; Premerstein, Pauly-Wissowa, 4, 
p. 220. 

6 Cuq, 0. c. p. 112; Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 331, n. 2. 

6 CIL. 6, 510. 

7 Cognitiones et preces tractat, N. D. or. p. 44, occ. p. 162. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 99 

department of the Petitions could very well assume the additional 
burden. 1 

From the time of this amalgamation, the title of Master of the 
Sacred Inquests, when it occurs, is always an appendage to that of 
Master of the Petitions. 

(e) Magister Dispositionum — Master of the Schedules. 

The Master of the Imperial Schedules was the chief of the scrinium 
dispositionum, one of the four secretarial departments attached to the 
court in both the Eastern and Western Empires. 2 

This bureau is first mentioned in a constitution of the Emperor 
Julian, dated 362 a.d., 3 and its origin and functions are uncertain. 
However, the author of the biography of Alexander Severus speaks of 
the dispositiones of the emperor as the published schedule of his 
journeys throughout the empire; 4 and in a constitution of 397 the 
members of this office are designated as those who have the care of the 
order of the imperial dispositions. s Hence it may reasonably be 
assumed that it was the duty of the bureau to prepare the program of 
imperial business, especially that part of it which concerned the num- 
ber and routes of the emperor's journeys. 6 

The Master of the Schedules, although a clarissimus towards the end 
of the fourth century, was not of the same rank as the other Masters of 
the Scrinia, but only held the same grade as their proximi. 1 He passed 
out of service with the rank of iiicarius, having precedence over those of 
similar grade whose service had not been at the court. 8 This subordi- 
nate position of the Master of the Schedules was due to the inferior 
nature of the business of his office. He was probably promoted from 
among the members of his own bureau. 9 

1 Cuq, magister sacrarum cognitionum, p. 138. 

2 C. Th. 6, 26, 2; C. J. 12, 19, 11; N. D. or. p. 32, occ. p. 145. 

3 C. Th. 6, 21, 6. * Vita Alex. 45; cf. vita Juliani, 3, 27; vita Maximi, 9. 

6 C. Th. 6, 29, 9, his, a quibus dispositionum nostrorum norma et series servalur. 

6 Cf. Gothofredus on C. Th. 6, 26, 1; Schiller, Geschichle der rbm. Kaiserzeii, 2, 
p. 103; Karlowa, R. R. 1, p. 836; Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 4, p. 647, who also includes 
among the duties of this office the issuing of invitations to the imperial table. 

7 C. Th. 6, 26, 2, 381 A.D., Clarissimos viros proximos scriniorum et magis(tr)os 
dispositionum vicariorum ordini copulamus, etc. 

8 L. c. 

' At least this was true of his successor the comes, C. J. 12, 9, 3, 443-444 a.d. 



ioo Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

The title of Master of the Schedules was in use up to 381 at least, 1 
but by 414 it had given place to that of comes. 2 Seeck 3 thinks that this 
change was due to the honorary rank of comes which Arcadius in 397 
mentions as having been bestowed upon the proximi of the other 
scrinia. 4. 

In regard to rank the Master of the Schedules may be compared to 
the Master of the Audiences, who was likewise honored with the rank 
of vicarius upon the expiration of his term of service, 5 but, who, when 
in office, had only the rank of perfectissimus.* 

In conclusion it is necessary to consider the appellation provisionum 
et dispositionum magister, which occurs in an inscription of the year 
378. 7 Cozensa 8 takes this phrase to be the full title of the Master of 
the Schedules. This view seems, on account of the following consid- 
erations, to be an incorrect assumption. 

Firstly, the position of these words among the preliminary expres- 
sions of honor addressed to Probus, and not among his official titles, 
seems to indicate that they did not form part of the latter. Is the 
phrase humanitatis auctor, which follows, an official title ? 

Secondly, the position of Master of the Schedules does not accord 
with the cursus honorum given here. 

Finally, the expression is not found in any of the other inscriptions 
erected in honor of the same Probus. 9 

Therefore one is led to the conclusion that the phrase is merely 
complimentary, meaning " master of forethought and wise counsels." 

1 C. Th. 6, 26, 2. 

2 Id. 6, 2, 23 . . . tola impleta militia ad proximatum {et comilivam) dispositionum 
vel magistrum admissionum (pervenerit). 

3 Pauly-Wissowa, 4, 647. 

4 C. Th. 6, 26, 10, comes tertii ordinis; 6, 26, 17, comes secundi ordinis; id. 18. 

5 C. Th. 6, 2, 23. 8 Id. 6, 35, 7. 

7 CIL. 6, 1751 = Dessau, Inscriptiones Latinae Selectae 1265, Nobilitatis culmini, 
litterarum et eloguentiae lumini, auctoritatis exemplo, provisionum et dispositionum 
magistro, humanitatis auctori, moderationis patrono, devotionis antesti, Petronio 
Probo, v(iro) cilarissimo) , proconsuli Africae, praefecto praetorio per Illyricum, 
Italiam et Africam, consult ordinario, etc. 

8 Official Positions after Constantine, p. 63. 

9 Cf. Dessau, nos. 1266, 1267, 1268. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 101 

Before leaving the discussion of the Masters of the Scrinia there 
are certain observations to be made in regard to their offices in 
general. 

According to the Notitia Dignitatum 1 these Masters, i. e., the Masters 
of the Memory, Correspondence and Petitions, for the Master of the 
Schedules had changed his title to that of Count before the compilation 
of this list of dignities, took precedence over the provincial governors 
who had the title of proconsul, but stood immediately below the 
Quartermaster of the Palace (castrensis sacrii palatii). 

An imperial constitution of 444, 2 concerning these Masters of the 
Scrinia, provided that after the expiration of their term of office they 
should be exempt from the burden of all extraordinary contributions 
levied by civil or military governors. 

Bury 3 has expressed the opinion that the Masters of the Memory, 
Correspondence and Petitions were not the heads of the scrinia bearing 
the corresponding names, but only received their adiutores from these 
scrinia. This view he bases on the fact that in the Notitia the scrinia 
are placed under the control of the Master of the Offices (magister 
officiorum), whereas the Masters themselves are not. 4 In spite of this 
fact I think that he is mistaken in his opinion. That the Masters were 
the heads of the scrinia is clear, it seems to me, for the following reasons. 

(a) The titles of the Masters correspond to those of the scrinia. 

(b) In C. J. 12, 9, 8 (444 a.d.) the Masters are distinctly called 
Masters of the Scrinia — magistri sacrorum scriniorum — a title which 
would have no meaning if they were not the chiefs of the scrinia, for 
they were certainly not subordinate officials thereof. Further, from 
the second part of the same constitution 6 one would infer that the 
proximi of the scrinia were their subordinates. 

1 N. D. or. p. 2, occ. p. 163. 

2 C. J. 12, 9, 8, Viris spectoMlibus omnium sacrorum scriniorum. . . . Ideoque 
post depositum etiam officium ab omne indictionis onore seu civilium seu militarium 
iudicum prorsus immunes esse praecipimus . 

3 "Magistri Scriniorum," etc., Harvard Studies in Classical Philology, XXI, 
p. 29; cf. N. D. or. p. 44, officium autem de ipsis nemo kabel, sed adiutores electos de 
scriniis. 

* N. D. or. pp. 2, 31, 44; occ. pp. 103, 144, 162. 

6 The first part has been quoted before. It continues, hoc beneficium ad proximos 
etiam sacrorum scriniorum el exproximis volumus propagari. 



102 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

(c) The very name of the proximi, whom Bury calls the heads of the 
scrinia, 1 indicates that they had superiors. Other scrinia, not in- 
cluded among the scrinia sacra, were presided over by a primicerius or 
primiscrinius? 

(d) The fact that in the Notitia it is stated that the Masters had no 
officium of their own but selected assistants from the scrinia, is to be 
explained by the circumstance that they had no need of such a bureau 
owing to the existence of the scrinia. For special services, however, 
they required clerks whom they thus drew from among the em- 
ployees of the scrinia. 

(e) The Masters had been, from the time of the creation of their 
offices under the Principate, the chiefs of these departments and, if, 
upon the appearance of the Master of the Offices, they had lost touch 
with their scrinia, they certainly would not have been designated as 
Masters of the Scrinia as late as 444 a.d. 3 

(/) Nor is it altogether inexplicable that these Masters, if heads of 
the scrinia, were not subordinated to the Master of the Offices under 
whose commands their bureaus stood, but were, as it appears, under 
the direct orders of the emperor. The removal of the bureau chiefs 
from the control of the Master of the Offices was an excellent means of 
furnishing a check upon the abuse of his authority. And we may sup- 
pose that, although the Masters of the Scrinia guided the business 
there conducted, the officials employed in these departments were, in 
matters of discipline, promotion and the like, under the orders of the 
Master of the Offices alone. Perhaps another reason for this super- 
vision exercised by the latter was that a great deal of his official 
correspondence was conducted through some of these scrinia.* 

In the Western Empire the Masters of the Scrinia did not survive 
the fall of the Roman power in 476. Mommsen 6 thought that they 
were identical with the referendarii of the Gothic kingdom in Italy, but 

1 O. c. p. 23. 

2 Lecrivain, Daremberg el Saglio, 4, p. 1125. who accepts the Masters as the heads 
of these Scrinia. 

3 Still later, in 533, we find the title magister scrinii libettorum sacrarumque 
cognitionum, C. J. 1, 17, 2, 9. 

« C. Th. 1, 8, 1. 

6 Oslgothische Studien, Neues Archiv, XIV, pp. 225 &. = Gesamelle Schriften, vol. 6 
(Historische Schriften, 3), pp. 362 ff. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 103 

Bury * has shown that this view is incorrect. However, in the Eastern 
Empire, they continued to exercise their functions, although after the 
sixth century they no longer had the Latin title magister, but the Greek 
avTiypa<f>evs? As avnypafaZs, then, they appear in the eighth and ninth 
centuries in the office of the Quaestor. 3 

2. Magister Census — Master of the Census. 

The earliest mention of this Master of the Census, magister census or 
censuum, occurs in the inscription of Caelius Saturninus 4 of the reign 
of Constantine I, according to which it is possible that he held the 
mastership not later than 313 a.d. 5 

Regarding the development of this office various views have been 
advanced. Mommsen 6 considers the Master of the Census to have 
been the successor of the former curator actorum, afterwards ab actis 
senatus, an official appointed by the princeps to record the transactions 
(acta) of the senate. This theory rests mainly upon the identification 
of the position of Master of the Census with that held by a certain 
Capuanus, mentioned by Cassiodorus, 7 who was appointed decuriarum 
rector and admonished " to guard with purity of conscience the records 
of the senate." 8 Assuming this identity, Mommsen 9 argues that the 
similarity of the functions of the Master with those of the ab actis 
senatus proves the development of the former from the latter office. 

However, Seeck 10 points out that the decuriarum rector was a specta- 
bilis 11 and consequently of higher rank than the Master of the Census, 12 
and, moreover, presided over all the decuriae, whereas the Master 
presided over the censuales alone. Therefore the two offices are not 

1 Harvard Studies, XXI, pp. 23-29. 

2 This had been the Greek term for these Masters since the Principate, 0. c. pp. 
24-25. 

3 O. c. p. 25. 

4 CIL. 6, 1704, Dessau, 1214, C. Caelio Saturnino, v(iro) c{larissimo) , . . . 
rationali vicario per Gattias, magistro censum, vicario a consillis sacris, magistro 
studiorum, magistro libellorum, etc. 

6 Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 3, p. 191 1. 

6 Staatsrecht, 3, pp. 1019-1020, cf. 2, pp. 901, 927. 

7 Variae, 5, 22. 

8 L. c, senatus scrinia conscientiae puritate servaret. 

9 Staatsrecht, 1, p. 370, n. 3. 

10 O. c, I. c. " Cass. Var. 1. c. " See below. 



104 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

identical. 1 Further, Mommsen 2 admits that we know nothing of an 
officium of the ab actis senatus previous to the time of Diocletian, 
whereas, as we shall see, there existed previously an office under the 
a censibus, from which it is more likely that the Master of the Census 
and his bureau developed. Again, Karlowa 3 thinks that the functions 
of this Master were too extensive to have arisen out of those of the 
ab actis. 

Seeck 4 has advanced the theory that the Master of the Census was a 
creation of Constantine I, of the time when the latter fixed the sena- 
torial land tax {collatio glebalis), i. e., immediately after the defeat of 
Maxentius (312-313 a.d.). He evidently regards the Saturninus of 
CIL. 6, 1 704 as the first holder of this office. The reason for the estab- 
lishment of this new office was, in his opinion, to provide for the valua- 
tion of the property of those from time to time admitted to the ranks 
of the senators. 

More satisfactory, however, is the view of Hirschfeld 5 which traces 
the Master of the Census back to the official of the pre-Diocletian 
period known as the a censibus, who in the third century appears as the 
magister a censibus.* There can hardly be any doubt that this is the 
correct view. 7 

How, then, can one show the connection between the a censibus and 
the Master of the Census ? This follows from both the functions and 
the titles of the two offices. Mommsen 8 is to all appearances correct 
in describing as a censibus the official who, according to Herodian, 9 
Elagabalus appointed to supervise the education and the rating of the 
youths destined to enter the equestrian or the senatorial order, i. e., the 
sons of the office-holding aristocracy. Further, as Hirschfeld 10 points 
out, when he shows that Seeck 11 is in error in considering the a censibus 

1 Seeck, I. c. * Pauly-Wissowa, 3, pp. 1911-1Q13. 

2 Staatsrecht, 3, pp. 1019-1020. 6 KVB. pp. 64-68. 

3 Rechtsges, 1, pp. 866-867. 6 CIL. 6, 1629 (m)agislro a censibus. 

7 It is accepted by Karlowa, R. R. 1 , pp. 886-867, and by Kalopathakates on census 
in De Ruggiero, 2, p. 175. 

8 Staatsrecht, 3, p. 490, n. 1. 

9 Herodian, 5, 7, 7, tt&Au' Si Unpov d/wiois ttjs <TKr]vrjt ffaarcuras, Tratieias tS>v veuiv 
xai eiKoofiias rijs « iimOTaotm twv is tt\v <rvyic\rjT&v @ov\riv fj ri iTiriKov ray/ia Kara- 
TaTTO/iivuv TrpotaTqaev. These duties explain the title of a censibus. 

10 KVB. p. 68, n. 1. u Pauly-Wissowa, 3, p. 1911. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 105 

a provincial official, the a censibus to whom was addressed the decree of 
Caracalla 1 which provided that those who came to Rome for educa- 
tional purposes should be excused from civic obligations in their native 
towns for so long as their legal studies detained them at the capital, 
refers to an officer resident in Rome, and, therefore, to the one in ques- 
tion. From this rescript it is clear that the a censibus exercised super- 
vision over the students in Rome. Thus the functions of the a 
censibus, as far as they are known, warrant the assumption that he 
conducted the business of the princeps in his capacity of censor. 2 Now 
the r61e of the Master of the Census was similar if somewhat wider. 
The supervision of the students in Rome was in his hands, 3 and like- 
wise the descriptiones senatorial 4 and the preparation of the tax list of 
the senators. 5 

Now, considering the titles, we find that in the course of the third 
century, when the a libellis assumed the title magister a libellis, the a 
censibus likewise became magister a censibus.* Since the magister a 
libellis became the magister libellorum, it is but natural that the magis- 
ter a censibus should later appear as the magister censuum. And this is 
the title appearing in the inscription of Saturninus. 7 

Since we have then an official under Constantine whose title and 
duties correspond to those of an official of the Principate, it seems 
absurd to conclude that the former was an entirely new appointment. 
What probably took place was a reorganization of the office with the 
addition of new subordinates to undertake the added duties in connec- 
tion with the senatorial land tax. 

Constantine, when he organized his new capital on the Bosphorus, 
established there a similar bureau in imitation of the one at Rome. 
Lydus 8 records that this Emperor appointed a Master of the Census as 
controller of records, and gave him censuales as assistants. 

1 Vatican Fragment, 204, proinde qui studiorum causa Romae sunt, praecipue 
civilium, debent [excusari, quamdiu i]uris causa Romae agunt studii cura distracti et ita 
[imperator] Antoninus Aug{ustus) Cereali, a censibus, et aliis rescripsit. 

2 So Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 67. 

3 C. Th. 14, 9, 1. * Id. 6, 2, 21, 23; 1, 26, 12, etc. 
6 Id. 12, 74, par. 1; Symmachus, Reliquae, 46, 2. 

6 CIL. 6, 1928, magistro a libellis, (m)agistro a censibus. ' CIL. 6, 1704. 

Lydus, de magistraiibus, 2, 30, rbv Si payuTTpoj* rov iriivaov &ru£ifluwTas oaovel 
&PXOvra t&v &pxer{nro>v (fv^j3o\alojv otl k5\v<tov fiev rriv airoypa<i>iiv twv apx&&v, pky&rra 
Si X&youffi. nai . . . fojwovaAijs Si roinif (avri rov &px«o#6Aa/cas) viriJpertiSOai. di&piae. 



106 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

The Master of the Census, accordingly, appears both in Rome ' and 
in Constantinople as the head of the clerks called censuales, who formed 
one of the decuriae? The Master himself was under the orders of the 
Urban Prefect, to whose officium the censuales belonged. 3 

In the third century the magister a censibus had ranked below the 
magister a libellis. i But Saturninus, the first recorded occupant of the 
office of Master of the Census, was promoted to this post from that of 
vicarius a sacris consiliis and later became Vicar of the rationalis for 
Gaul. 6 As he had in the earlier part of his career filled the positions 
of magister stvdiorum and magister libellorum, it is evident that the 
office of Master of the Census had gained greatly in importance 
through its reorganization by Constantine. It is not certain when 
this Master was given the rank of clarissimus although it was probably 
in the course of the fourth century for in the Notitia he preceeds the 
consularis aquarum, who enjoyed that rank. 6 At the close of the fifth 7 
and also in the sixth century, 8 under Justinian, he was still a claris- 
simus, although the Masters of the Scrinia had become spectabiles 
previous to 438.' 

The duties of the Master of the Census were the following. 

(a) He had to act as the head of a court of record for the registry of 
contracts for alienation entered into, at the capital, by the guardians of 
orphans (orphanotrophi) and affecting the property of their wards; 10 
for the publication of the declarations of bankruptcy, which were re- 
moved entirely by Justinus 11 from the jurisdiction of the ordinary 
tribunals and the defensores ecclesiarum; for the publication, in speci- 
fied cases, of the declarations, made at the capital, whereby a property- 
holder admitted a new emphyteuta in place of one who had sold his 

1 C. Th. 14, 9, 1. 2 Id. 14, 1, 1. 

3 N. D. occ. p. 4. The corresponding portion of N. D. or. has not been preserved, 
but it may be assumed that the arrangement in the East was the same as in the 
West. 

4 CIL. 6, 1628, quoted above. 
6 CIL. 6, 1704, see above. 

6 N. D. occ. p. 144; Seeck, Pauiy-Wissowa, 3, p. 1912. The perfectissimus used 
one of these Masters in C. J. 1, 3, 31, 472 a.d. is certainly a personal, not an official, 
title, Hirschfeld, Rhine Schriften, p. 662. 

7 C. /. 8, 53, 32, 496 a.d. 8 Id. 4, 66 par. 3, 331 a.d. 9 Th. Nov. 1, 7. 
10 C. /. 1, 3, 31, 472 a.d. " Id. 1, 3, 40, 524 a.d. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 107 

rights to the newcomer (inclinatio) ; 1 and for the publication or deposi- 
tion of recorded gifts made in the city, wherever the objects donated 
might be situated. 2 

Regarding all these documents the constitution came into force 
which provided that wills and other documents, which were accus- 
tomed to be published in the office of the censuales, were to be pre- 
served there and no copy thereof was to be made. 3 

(b) As the chief of the censuales the Master had to direct the work 
entrusted to them in connection with the senate. 

One of their duties was the preparation of the senatorial tax lists 
(breves glebae senatoriae, senatoria et glebalis descriptio) . i These lists 
were prepared quarterly for the Urban Prefect, who transmitted them 
to the emperor. 6 

At one time the censuales had the duty of collecting the collatio 
glebalis, 6 and the aurum oblaticum, 7 even from the senators living in the 
provinces. But as these were burdensome tasks (onerosa) and as the 
censuales were unable to perform them properly (executioni sufficere), 
they were relieved of them in 397 a.d. 8 However, since in their 
records they had full information regarding the resources of each 
senator, the amounts to be collected were left for their decision. 9 
And, in 541 a.d., the censuales were still regarded as among the exactors 
of the public revenues (publica tributa exigentes) , for which reason they 
were refused the right of sanctuary when charged with fiscal extor- 
tion. 10 

Because of their knowledge of the resources of the individual sena- 
tors, the censuales had the duty of nominating the pretors. In 361 

1 C. J. 4, 66, 3, par. 3, 530 a.d. 

2 Id. 8, 53, 30, 4S9 a.d., confirmed by id. 32, 496 a.d., conscriptae donationes 
ubicunque positarum rerum. 

3 C. Th. 4, 4, 4, 397 a.d. = C. J. 6, 33, 18. For this side of the duties of the 
censuales cf. the account of Lydus, de mag. 2, 30, rajwouaXijs Si Tobrq (Master of the 
Census), dcri tov &pxaw<l>b\aKas, fim)p«T«cr0ai Si&purt, and /. Nov. 128, 13. 

4 Symm. Rel. 46, 2; id. Ep. 10, 67; cf. C. Th. 12, 1, 74, par. 1; 13, 3, 15-16. 
6 Symm. Ep. 10, 67. 

6 C. Th. 6, 2, 17, 397 a.d. 

7 Id. 6, 2, 16, 395 a.d.; 6, 2, 20, 397. s LI. cc. 

9 Id. Seeck thinks that the quaestores glebae senatoriae, who appear after 400, 
were sent out by this office to collect the land tax, Pauly-Wissowa, 3, 1912. 
10 Just. Nov. 128, 13. 



108 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

they were deprived of this privilege, 1 which, however, was restored to 
them again in 303. 2 In Rome, if the pretors were absent from the 
city, the censuales celebrated the games incumbent on the holders of 
that office and collected the costs thereof from the absentees. 3 

A record of all judicial cases discussed in the senate, with an account 
of the charges and the names of the persons concerned, was preserved 
by the censuales.* 

(c) It was likewise the duty of this office to see that the dress pre- 
scribed for the various official classes was not worn by persons not 
entitled to do so. For disregard of the regulations in this matter, or 
connivance thereat, a fine of twenty pounds of gold was inflicted. 8 

(d) Further, it seems that at the receptions and official assemblages 
over which the praefectus urbanus presided the censuales, who were in 
the bureau of that official, regulated the order of precedence. 6 

(e) Finally, the Master of the Census had the oversight of the youth 
of the provinces studying in Rome. All students coming to that city 
(quicunque ad urbem discendi cupiditate veniunt) had, first of all, to 
present to him certificates from the provincial governors, naming their 
residence, and their date of birth, and certifying to their previous good 
conduct. Then they were to inform him as to their proposed studies. 
Their places of residence in the city were to be known to his office and 
the censuales were to see that they conducted themselves in a fitting 
manner. If they did not do so, they might be publicly flogged and 
sent home to the provinces. 7 This part of the Master's duties was a 
development from the supervision exercised by the a censibus of the 
Principate over the sons of members of the senatorial and equestrian 
orders. 8 

3. M agister Studiorum — Master of the Records. 

The magister studiorum — Master of the Records — was the suc- 
cessor of the official called a studiis, who appears in company with the 
a libellis and the ab epistulis under Claudius. 9 

1 C. Th. 6, 4, 13. 2 Id. 26. 

3 Symm. Ep. 4, 8, 3; Rel. 23, 2; C. Th. 6, 4, 27. 

4 C. Th. 6, 28, s = C.J. 12, 22, 2. 5 C. Th. 14, 10, 1. 

6 C. Th. 6, 28, 8, 43s a.d. 7 Id. 14, o, 1, 370 a.d. 8 See above. 

9 Suet. Claud. 28; Seneca, ad Polybium, 5, 2; 6, 4; Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 332. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 109 

In the latter part of the second and first part of the third century 
this title had the form procurator a studiis. 1 Somewhat later appears 
the form magister a studiis, which is attested by three inscriptions. 2 

Finally, early in the fourth century, this official had the title of 
magister studiorum, 3 but there is no trace of the title beyond that date. 

The magister a studiis had the rank of perfectissimus,* and, ap- 
parently a salary of 200,000 sesterces. At least Vibius Fortunatus 
advanced from magister a studiis to be procurator ducenarius stationis 
hereditatium, 6 and while this is not of itself conclusive evidence the 
office appears too high for a centenarius. 6 Saturninus as magister 
studiorum ranked above the Master of the Petitions and was therefore 
a trecenarius. 7 

The functions of the Master of the Records are obscure. Cuq 8 
thinks that the duty of this officer was to investigate the records and to 
advise the emperor accordingly, not only on legal questions but also in 
matters relative to practices of cult and the interpretation of prodigies 
and omens. This view he bases on CIG. 5900, which records that M. 
Junius Vestinius, ex-High Priest of Alexandria and Egypt, ex-adminis- 
trator of the musuem at Alexandria and of the libraries at Rome, was 
appointed to the office of a studiis. And in support thereof he refers 
to a passage in Aulus Gellius, 9 who mentions that Hadrian rendered a 
judicial decision after an examination of the opinion of the ancient 
philosophers and doctors. The a studiis, he thinks, had to search out 
these opinions. 

1 CIL. 8, 11, 340; 13, 1779; Hirschfeld, KVB. p. 333. 

2 CIL. 6, 1608, Iuliano, p(erfectissimo) v{iro), {magi)stro a $tudi(i)s Aug(usti); 
8683, (mag)is(t)ro a studi(i)s; 10, 4721, magistro a studiis. 

3 CIL. 6, 1704, C. Caelio Saturnino, . . . mcario a consiliis sacris, magistro 
studiorum, magistro libellorum, etc. For the date cf. the preceding section. 

4 CIL. 6, 1608, above. From this one may conclude that all Masters at that time 
in the imperial offices were perfectissimi. 

6 CIL. 10, 4721. 

6 Hirschfeld, p. 334, n. 2. 

7 Cf . the Master of the Petitions. 

8 Le concilium principis d'Augusle d Diocletian, pp. 371-375. 

9 Nodes Atticae, 3, 16 Divum Hadrianum, causa cognita decrevisse in undecimo 
quoque mense partum edi posse idque ipsum eius rei decretum nos legimus. In eo 
decreto Hadrianus id statum se dicit . . . requisitis iieterum philosophorum et medi- 
corum sententiis. 



no Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

The connection of this office with questions of religion explains, in 
the opinion of Cuq, the appointment of Fortunatus, who was an 
haruspex, as magister a studiis. 1 In this connection he refers to an 
epigram of Martial, 2 addressed to Sextus, who was apparently at that 
time chief librarian of the Palatine and a studiis. 

Hirschfeld 3 and Friedlander 4 agree with this view regarding the 
character of the office of the Master of the Records, although the latter 
ascribes to this official a slightly wider range of activity. Mommsen 5 
thought that the emperor's private libraries were under his direction, 
but Hirschfeld 6 shows that this is unlikely. 

Among the assistants of the magister a studiis we know of a proximus 
a studiis? and, when the title of the chief had become magister stu- 
diorum he had a sexagenarius studiorum adiutor? 

The disappearance of the Master of the Records and his office is to be 
accounted for, I believe, by the growth of the scrinium memoriae, 
which, with its antiquarii, obviated the necessity of having a special 
bureau to search out precedents for the emperor's guidance. Also, the 
acceptance of Christianity as a religion of state did away with the need 
of advice in dealing with prodigies and omens. 9 

(C) Magister Admissionum — Master of the Audiences 

During the later Roman Empire the control of all the ceremonies and 
receptions at the court was in the hands of the Master of the Offices 
{magister officiorum), 10 who had under his orders, to assist him in 
executing this part of his duties, a corps of ushers called admissionales. 11 

1 CIL. io, 4721. 

2 Ep. $, S> Sexte, Palalinae cuitor facunde Minervae 

Ingenio frueris qui propiore dei; 

Nam tibi nascentes domini cognoscere curas 

El secreta ducts pectora nosse licet. 

3 KVB. pp. 332-333- ' L. c. 

6 In Harnack, Texte u. Untersuchungen, 1903, 9, p. 3. 

» KVB. p. 304, n. 5. 7 CIL. 6, 8637. 8 CIL. 3, 1104. 

9 It may be noted here that C. Th. 12, 1, 26, 338 A.D. has magistri studiorum for 
magistri scriniorum, and that in C. Th. 13, 3, 5, 362 the magistros studiorum doc- 
toresque are of a different character from the official in question, Hirschfeld, KVB. 
p. 334, n. 1. 

10 Cass. Var. 6, 6. 

11 N. D. occ. p. 144; ojficium admissionum id. or. p. 31. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire in 

These admissionales appear in the reign of Constantine I in the place 
of the officials of the ab admissione of the Principate. 1 They had as 
their chief the magister admissionum — the Master of the Audiences, — 
whose position will now be considered. 

The date of the appearance of the title Master of the Audiences is 
uncertain. Its employment in the Historia Augusta with reference to 
the reigns of Alexander Severus 2 and Valerian 3 is, according to Seeck, 4 
a transference of the fifth century usage to an earlier epoch, while 
Hirschfeld 5 is inclined to accept these passages as giving the form 
in use in the third century. Ammianus Marcellinus 6 refers to such a 
Master in 355, and another notice of the title occurs in a constitution 
of 414. 7 However the title does not appear in the Notitia Dignitatum. 
Of more importance than these notices for the history of this title is an 
inscription from Sublaqueum in Latium, which reads as follows, — 
DM. M(arco) Aurelio, Aug(usti) lib{erto), Antiochiano, magistro ab 
atmissione. Antiocharius et Antiochis fill, eredes,patri Optimo. 3 The form 
magister ab atmissione at once recalls the magister a libellis and the 
magister a censibus of the late third century. 9 It seems then that the 
title magister ab admissione was in use at this period having superseded 
the earlier form ab admissione. We may further assume that, as was 
the case with the titles of the chiefs of the scrinia, another change was 
effected in this title by Diocletian, under whom this Master was called 
the magister admissionum and his subordinates were designated admis- 
sionales. 

The fact that this Master was a freedman in the third century, 10 at a 
time when the other Masters in the imperial service were equestrians, is 
to be attributed to the humble nature of his office. 

1 Friedlander, Sittenges. 1, pp. 134 ff.; Karlowa, R.R.t, p. 832; Schmidt, Pauly- 
Wissowa, 1, pp. 381-382; Seeck, id. p. 393. 

2 Vita Alex. 4, 3. 

3 Vita Aurel. 12, 4, Aeboli, qui magister admissione Valeriani principis fuit. 
1 Pauly-Wissowa, 1, p. 382. 

5 KVB. p. 310, n. 2. 

6 15, 5, 18, per admissionum magistrum, qui mos est honoralior, accito. 
' C. Th. 6, 2, 18 (33). 

8 CIL. 14, 3457. The inscription is undated but must refer to one of the third 
century emperors. 

9 CIL. 6, 1268, see above. 10 Cf. CIL. 14, 3457. 



ii2 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

These admissionales were allowed to enter the court service only by 
virtue of imperial warrants (probatoriae), which were preserved in the 
bureau of Petitions. 1 They were no longer liberti, like the earlier 
subordinates of the ab admissione, but freemen, and could, by passing 
through all the inferior grades of their service {tola impleta militia), 
attain the rank of Master of the Audiences. 2 The mastership con- 
ferred the perfectissimate upon its holder. 3 

The Mafeter in his turn could be made a senator with the rank of 
vicarius (vicaria dignitas), but then was excused from the senatorial 
land tax {collatio glebalis), and also from the payment of the seven 
solidi, which even the senators of lowest rank were expected to con- 
tribute. 4 He was also exempted from the furnishing of recruits and 
horses. 6 

It is evident that the Master of the Audiences was not a very impor- 
tant official, nor does he appear to have had any administrative or 
executive functions. He was merely the court usher of the longest 
service, who for this reason was set over his fellows, and his duties 
consisted mainly in regulating the order of precedence at the imperial 
audiences. 6 

In the Byzantine Empire the Count of the Audiences takes the place 
of the Master. 7 

Recapitulation 

From what has been said concerning the several Masters one may 
make the following general sketch of the employment of this title 
among the civil officials of the Empire. 

In this sphere the title of Master makes its appearance towards the 
end of the first century. It was then used as the title of certain offi- 
cials employed in connection with the collection of the revenue, which 
at that time was being removed from the hands of private contractors 

1 C. J. 12, 59, io, par. 5. 

2 Ad magistrum pervenerit, C. Th. 6, 2, 18, 23, 414 a.d. 

3 A primis quibusque gradibtis usque ad perfectissimatus ordinem, C. Th. 6, 35, 7. 

4 Immunis a septem quoque solidorum praestatione, quae tenuissimos senatores 
adsolet obligare, C. Th. 6, 2, 18. 

5 Id. 11, 18, 1. 

6 Perhaps this is the explanation of his omission from the Notitia. 

7 Constantine Porphyrogenitus, Liber Ceremonialis, 1, 81, 84, kojujjs iSnunnovav. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 113 

and placed under imperial control. Other officials engaged in the 
same service had at this time the title of Deputy Master (promagister) . 
It seems clear that these titles were adopted for the imperial offices 
from the societates publicanorum, at the same time that the govern- 
ment assumed the responsibility for the raising of taxes. By the end 
of the second century these Masters and Deputy Masters had dis- 
appeared, probably owing to a reorganization of the procuratorial 
system. 

In the third century we meet with another group of Masters. The 
title was then used of the officials in charge of the various departments 
(curae, officia, scrinia) of the imperial administration centered at the 
capital. These Masters were not new officers, but were the heads of 
administrative departments previously known as ab admissione, a 
censibus, ab epistulis, a libellis, a memoria, and a studiis. All these 
officials, with the exception of the a cognitioriibus and the a studiis, 
seem at first to have added the word magister to their previous titles, 
so that we find the forms magister ab admissione, magister a censibus 
and magister a libellis. The a studiis became first procurator a studiis 
and then magister a studiis. The a cognitionibus, however, appears 
next as procurator sacrarum cognitionum, while the form magister a 
cognitionibus is not known. When these changes took place cannot 
definitely be determined. It was after 239 a.d. at the earliest, for at 
that date the title ab epistulis was still in use. 1 

The references to these Masters, under the titles of magistri officio- 
rum or magistri scriniorum in the Historia Augusta? in the lives of 
Alexander Severus and his predecessors, cannot be regarded as proof 
that they were called Masters previous to 239. Whether we accept 
the hypothesis of Dessau 3 and Seeck 4 that this work is a forgery of the 
time of Valentinian and Theodosius, or the view of Mommsen 6 and 
others 6 that it was compiled in the age of Diocletian and Constantine, 
the anachronisms in the use of the title magister are so numerous that 

1 CIL. 6, 1088, Numisius Quintianus, v{ir) p(erfectissimus) , ab epistulis latinis. 

2 Magistri qfficiorum, Pesc. Nig. 12; Alex. 32; cf. Gall. 17; magistri scriniorum, 
Ver. 4; Alex. 26. 

3 Hermes, XXIV, p. 337. 

4 Rheinisches Museum, XLIX, p. 208. 

5 Hermes, XXV, p. 228. 

6 Cf. Schanz, RBmische Litteratur, 4, p. 55. 



ii4 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

no reference to a Master can be accepted without the support of in- 
scriptional evidence. 1 But since the form magister a with the ablative 
appears in numerous inscriptions of the third century, we may assume 
that the Masters recorded in the Historia for the period 250-284 a.d. 
were magistri a memoria, etc. 

Probably under Diocletian, before 297, these titles underwent a 
further change. The preposition a (ab) was dropped and the following 
ablative became a genitive, so that from this time the forms magister 
epistularum, magister studiorum, and the like were in use. About the 
same time the procurator sacrarum cognitionum became magister 
sacrarum cognitionum, and the title of Master was bestowed upon the 
chief of the newly formed scrinium dispositionum. 

It is, perhaps, impossible to say why the title of Master was chosen 
for these bureau chiefs. One might think that the Masters of the 
priestly colleges, in which there was only one such official regularly 
acting as the head of the college, furnished the model. But it was 
probably the general adaptability of the title, as indicating the one 
who assumed the direction or leadership in any field, that determined 
its adoption here. 

Meanwhile, the title of Master had made its reappearance in the 
financial administration. In the course of the third century the direc- 
tor of the res privata became magister (sacrae) privatae and the assistant 
of the chief of the fiscus was called magister summarum rationum. Both 
these titles disappeared before the close of the reign of Constantine I, 
and, from then until towards 350, the supervisors of the ratio privata in 
the provinces enjoyed the title of magistri (rei) privatae. In this 
branch of the administration the title of Master was probably used in 
imitation of the practice in vogue in the secretarial departments. 

Under Constantine the Great appeared the title of Master of the 
Offices, 2 applied to an official destined to survive all his colleagues with 
a similar designation, who appears in the Byzantine Empire as (6) 
nayioTpos. 3 In the course of the fourth century there were appointed, 
in the Eastern Empire, the minor officers known as magistri lineae 

1 A glaring example of the misuse of this title is found in Vita. Had. 11, where 
magister epistularum appears for ab epistulis. 

2 Cf. Mommsen, Gesammelte Schriften, 3, p. 26; Seeck, Untergang d. antiken Welt, 
2, ch. 2; Pauly-Wissowa, 7, pp. 631 f. 

3 Cf. Theophanes cont. Chronographia, passim. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 115 

vestis and magistri privatae, while at the same time, in both East and 
West the Master of the Sacred Inquests disappeared with the merging 
of his bureau with that of the Master of the Petitions. Contemporary 
is the abolition of the office and mastership of the Records {magister 
studiorum). It is possible that when the administration of the domus 
divina was separated from that of the res privata towards the end of the 
fourth century the Masters, who in the sixth century directed the 
administration of the Cappadocian estates, received this title. 

The Masters of the Scrinia were abolished in the West upon the 
establishment of the Gothic Kingdom in Italy, and, in the East, after 
the reign of Justinian, they were known by their Greek titles only. 

From that time there remained only the Master of the Offices, whose 
office, between the sixth and ninth centuries developed into an order 
of merit of the Byzantine Empire, 1 which, in this guise, preserved the 
title of Master as late as the beginning of the twelfth century at least. 2 

It is to be noted that these Masters in the civil service, with the 
exception of the magister summarum rationum and the magistri lineae 
vestis and privatae, always stood at the head of their office or, at least, 
of a department thereof, thus occupying a position in accord with the 
implicit meaning of a title denoting one, qui magis ceteris potest? 

II. Masters who were Military Officers of the Roman 

Empire 
1. Of the Principate. 

During the Principate the title of Master was borne by several sub- 
ordinate military officers. Regarding their precise duties we have 
little information, for the references to each of them are limited to 
single inscriptions. Nor are we informed regarding the creation or 
abolition of the posts which they filled. The Masters revealed to us by 
these scanty notices are now to be considered. 

(a) Magister Ballistarius — Master of the Ballistae. 

This Master is mentioned in an inscription from the Ager Nova- 
riensis and the holder of the title was P. Aelius Optatus, a soldier of the 

1 Bury, Imperial Administration in the Ninth Century, p. 16. 

2 Anna Comnena, Alexiadas, p. 95, 11 (Bonn). 
s Pollux, 6, 83. 



n6 Arthur Edward Romitty Book 

twentieth legion. 1 He was probably the commander of the corps of 
ballistarii, who, in the second century, were attached to each legion for 
the special service of the machines (ballistae) for casting stones and 
other missiles, which in the Roman army, took the place of the mod- 
ern artillery. 2 

(b) Magister Cohortis — Master of the Cohort. 

A Master of the Cohort appears in an inscription from Intercisa. 3 
According to Domaszewski 4 he was an extraordinary officer, the in- 
structor of the mounted archers (equites sagitarii) of a particular cohort, 
and corresponded to the Riding Master of the cavalry attached to the 
legions (equites legionis). 

(c) Magister Equitum — Master of the Horse. 

From Aquileia comes notice of a certain Julius, a supernumerary 
centurion of the eleventh legion, who entered in the mounted corps and 
was promoted to be Master of the Horse. 6 As Master of the Horse he 
was probably the commander of the equites legionis, who numbered 
726 men. 6 

(d) Magister Kampi — Riding Master. 

In a dedication made by the cavalry of the third legion to Severus 
Alexander at Lambaesis appears the name A. Geminius Extrucatus, 
followed by the title mag. k., which is usually completed as m(agister 
kiampi). 7 The duties of this officer have been explained as those of a 
riding master. 8 

(e) Magister Numeri — Master of the Troop. 

Similar in character, perhaps, to the position of the preceding 
Master was that of Salustius Martialis, the Master of a detachment 

1 CIL. 5, 6632, P. Aelius Optatus, miles in leg{ione) XX, magister ballis[l]a[rius] . 

2 Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 2, p. 2831. 

3 CIL. 3, 10, 307, Barsemis Abbei, decu[rio] ala[e] prima[e] katafractaria[e], ex 
numero Hosroenorum, mag{ister) coh(ortis) (miliareae) Hermes[cuorum]. 

4 Bonner Jahrbiicher. CXVII, p. 59. 

6 CIL. 5, 8278, Iulius, centurio supernumerarius leg(ionis) XI Claudiae, . . . 
postea profecit discens equitum ordine, f actus magister equitum. . . . 

6 Domaszewski, 0. c. pp. 48 f. 

7 CIL. 8, 2562, cf. Neue Heidelberger Jahrbiicher, IX, p. 150. 

8 Domaszewski, /. c. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 117 

{numerus) of the Moorish Barcarii. 1 He was a member of an 
auxiliary squadron (eques aloe), and very likely served as a drill 
instructor for this numerus. 2 

2. In the Later Roman Empire. 

After the reorganization of the state and the army by Diocletian and 
Constantine there is no further trace of these military Masters of the 
Principate, although they possibly continued to exercise their functions 
as before. One more subaltern officer with this title appears in a 
couple of inscriptions, but the chief military Masters of this later period 
were the magistri militum — Masters of the Soldiers — who, from the 
time of the creation of their office, were the commanders-in-chief of the 
army, and, in the history of the Empire, played a part far more im- 
portant than any of the Masters in the civil service. 

We shall first consider the references to the above-mentioned 
subaltern Master, the magister castri, and then attempt a discussion of 
the Masters of the Soldiers. 

(a) Magister Castri — Master of the Fort. 

An inscription of the fifth century from Isaurium in Britain records, 
if the reading proposed in the Corpus is correct, a certain Vindicianus, 
who built a fort under the direction of a praepositus militum} Also a 
tablet commemorating the building of a fort {castrum) at Ain Ksar in 
Numidia, between 578 and 582, concludes with the words Focas 
magister fecit. 4 

It seems that the two Masters referred to in these inscriptions were 
magistri castri, officers subordinate to the praepositus castri, the com- 
mandant of a fortified encampment, 5 and perhaps in charge of the 
technical construction of fortifications. 

(b) Magistri Militum — Masters of the Soldiers. 

The office of Master of the Soldiers (magisterium militum) was a 
creation of Constantine I. Both Lydus 6 and Zosimus, 7 our authorities, 

1 CIL. 8, 21, 568 magister Barcarioru(m). 2 Domaszewski, p. 61. 

3 CIL. 7, 268, Iustinianus p[rae] p{ositus], Vindicianus m[agister] a[r]biteriu 
pr[aepositi] m[ilitum] castrum fecit, etc. 
' CIL. 8, 4354- 

5 Praepositus, here used in the general sense of commander of a detachment, cf. 
Digest, 49, 16, 3 and 6. 

6 Lyd. de mag. 2, 10; 3, 40. 7 Zos. Historia, 2, 33. 



n8 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

are agreed upon this, but neither of them gives any precise information 
about the date at which this creation took place. However, both 
authors are again in accord in connecting it with the separation of the 
Prefects from the imperial court and their appointment to specific 
districts. This latter change seems to have taken place in 318, follow- 
ing the elevation of the young sons of Constantine to the rank of 
Caesars. 1 

Seeck 2 presents a reasonable hypothesis in supposing that the 
appointment of these new Masters took the form of a definite and per- 
manent assignment of a sphere of action to two comites. He finds, 
namely, that at this time two groups of comites, military and civil, 
appear, each having a sharply defined position. The comites of the 
military group were the comes et magister equitum, comes et magister 
peditum, comes domesticorum equitum, and comes domesticorum peditum. 
By 325, Seeck believes, these positions were definitely established, and, 
then, shortiy after 318 would seem to be the most reasonable date to 
assign for the establishment of the magisterium in question. 

However, the earliest definite reference to a Master of the Soldiers 
occurs in a constitution of 347 . 8 Ammianus records the office for 353,* 
and the first inscriptional evidence for the presence of these Masters 
dates from 365-367. 6 

Our sources are clear in motiving the creation of this new military 
office as an attempt to reduce the power of the Pretorian Prefect, 
similar to the allotment of part of his functions to the Master of the 
Offices, which Lydus describes in the same connection. 6 It was the 
completion of the scheme for the separation of the civil and the mili- 
tary power introduced by Diocletian. The latter, in his anxiety to 
prevent the possibility of rivals for the throne appearing in the prov- 
inces, had severed the control of the provincial troops from the civil 
authority, giving the former to the duces and leaving the latter with 
the praesides. But he had left the Pretorian Prefect the supreme 
military as well as civil power. Constantine now deprived this pre- 

1 Seeck, Rh. Mus. XLIX, p. 210; Paidy-Wissowa, 4, 632. 2 LI. cc. 

3 C. Th. 5, 4, 1, Bonosus, magister equitum. Id. 11, 1, 1, falls under Constantius, 
Mommsen, Hermes, XXXVI, p. 533. 

4 14, 9, 3, a magister equitum; 15, 5, 1, 355 A.D., Silvanus pedestris militiae rector. 
6 CIL. 3, 10, 596, Equitio, magiister) equitum peditumque. 

6 De mag. 2, 10; 3, 40. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 119 

fecture of military authority and appointed two new officers, the Mas- 
ters, as commanders-in-chief of the army, subject, of course, to the 
emperor. 1 Under the regime of Diocletian this separation had perhaps 
seemed unnecessary, because the Prefects were directly under the eyes 
of the Augusti and Caesars, who were grown men. But, under 
Constantine, the Caesars were still children when set over the various 
parts of the empire, and there was reason to fear the ambition of some 
Pretorian Prefect who directed the government for any one of the 
young princes. Accordingly Constantine was led to deprive the 
office of Prefect of its military command. And not only that, but he 
also went so far as to divide the military command itself, appointing 
one general for the cavalry and another for the infantry. 2 This was in 
a large measure due to the change in military organization and tactics, 
whereby the cavalry assumed a much more important position than 
formerly. 3 

The title Master had not been employed to designate a superior 
military commander since 44 B.C., when the dictatorship, and conse- 
quently the republican mastership of the horse, was abolished. 4 But, 
although as a civil and religious title it was in common use in the 
fourth century, and had even been employed in the preceding century 
for subaltern military officers, it seems that the early Roman Master of 
the Horse {magister equitum) served as a model, at least as far as the 
name was concerned, for the new office. This title, being that of a 
well-known historical office of which the function, at least originally, 
had been the command of the Roman horse, 6 could well be adopted for 
the new cavalry commander, while it was easy to invent a parallel 
form, Master of the Foot (magister peditum), to designate the com- 
mander of the infantry. The Greek equivalent for Master of the 

1 Karlowa, R. R. 1, p. 849; Mommsen, Hermes, XXXVI, p. 533; Seeck, Ges- 
chichle d. Untergangs d. antiken Welt, 2, p. 83. 

2 Zos. 2, 33, tov ftiv t^s Itttov t&v Si twv ve£S>v, cf. Mommsen, I. c; Seeck, I. c. 

3 H. S. Jones, The Roman Empire, p. 309, on Cedrenus, p. 309 (Bonn), sees a fore- 
runner of the magister equitum in a special commander of the cavalry under Gal- 
lienus. However, Cedrenus only records that Gallienus substituted in part cavalry 
for infantry in the Roman army, tp&tos Iwirma rkynara Kariarriat ■ Trefot yip koto 
rd iroAft 01 trrpanwrai twv Pco/iaico? i>injpxov. 

4 Appian. Bellum Civile, 3, 25, 94. 

5 Mommsen, St. R. 2, p. 173. 



120 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

Soldiers was ffTparriXarris, 1 rarely fiay'iarpos, 2 which was reserved for 
the Master of the Offices, but perhaps even commoner in literary as 
well as official usage was the simpler form (rrparriyos. 3 The Latin forms 
magister armorum and rector militiae, as also magister rei castrensis, are 
found in Ammianus, 4 but do not appear in official documents. The 
change of the title magister equitum or peditum to magister militum will 
be considered in connection with the history of the office. 

At first there were only two Masters — the Master of the Horse and 
the Master of the Foot — functioning for the whole empire 5 then in the 
hands of a single ruler. It is not certain if, at the death of Constan- 
tine I, in 337, his successors appointed two such Masters for the 
territory of each, but that was probably the case. However, when as 
early as 349 the addresses of the Theodosian Code begin to show the 
titles magister equitum et peditumf and magister militum,' 1 this does not 
indicate that new offices had been created but only that the character 
of the old ones had begun to change. But, in 363, a magister equitum 
per Gallias appears as a new and permanent appointment. 8 Two 
years later, in 365, a similar appointment was made for Illyricum. 9 In 
that year there seem to have been three Masters under Valentinian in 
the West, namely, Jovinus, Master of the Horse for Gaul ; 10 Dagalaifus, 
Master of the Horse; " and Severus, Master of the Foot. 12 At the same 

1 E. g. in Zos. 2, 33; /. Nov. 145, 155; Chronicon Paschale, pp. 601, 603 (Bonn); 
Socrates, Historic/, Ecclesiastica, 6, 6; cf. DuCange, Glossarium mediae et infimae 
Graecitatis. In Theophanes, passim, orpanjXaTia = magisterium militum. Zos. 4, 
27 uses tous t&v OTpanomii&v r/yovuhovs. 

2 CIL. 8, 259. 3 Lyd. de mag. 2, 10; 3, 40; CIL. 8, 4677, etc. 

4 Magister armorum, 15, 5; 16, 7, 3; 20, 1, 2, etc.; rei castrensis, 27, 10, 6; rector 
pedestris militiae, 15,4,2; 18,3,1; equorum copias qui luebatur, 28, 3,9; cf. Momm- 
sen, Hermes, XXXVI, p. 532. 

6 Zos. 2, 33; 4, 27. 

6 C. Th. 7, 1, 2, Silvanus comes et magister equitum et peditum. 

7 Id. 8, 7, 3, comes et magister militum. 

8 Iovinus, magister armorum, Amm. 25, 8, 11; 26, 5, 2; but magister equitum in 
C. Th. 7, 1, 9; also mag. eq. et ped., id. 7, 1, 7; and mag. mil. 7, 1, 10. 

9 Equitius magister armorum per Illyricum, Amm. 26, 5, 11; 6, 3; magiister) 
equitum et peditum per Illyricum, CIL. 3, 10, 596, 365-367 a.d.; cf. 3, 3653, magiisler) 
utriusque militiae, 367 a.d.; 5670a, 370 a.d. 

10 Amm. 26, 5, 2; C. Th. 8, 1, 10. 

11 Amm. 26, 1, 6; 5, 2; C. Th. 7, 20, 9, 366 a.d. 

12 First mentioned for 367, Amm. 27, 6, 3; cf. C. Th. 8, 7, 11, 371 a.d. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 121 

time in the East there were with Valens the following Masters, Victor, 
magister equitum; 1 Arinthaeus, magister peditum; 2 Lepicinus, magister 
equitum, who had charge of the extreme East; 3 and, finally, Equitius, 
Count of Illyricum {comes Illyrici), who in that year was raised to 
the dignity of Master (magisteria dignitas). 4 Thus, in 365, there 
were four Masters in the East and three in the West. Apparently 
no further addition to their numbers was made until the reign of 
Theodosius I. 

Theodosius, says Zosimus, 5 increased the number of the Masters of 
the Soldiers, creating more than five in place of the former Master of 
the Horse and Master of the Foot. It seems that this account does not 
apply to the western half of the Empire, for the Notitia Dignitatem 
shows that the number of Masters there in 425, was the same as in 36s. 6 
In the East there were in 425 five Masters — magistri equitum et 
peditum in praesenti duo, magister per Orientem, magister per Thracias, 
and magister per Illyricum 1 — of whom four were already in existence in 
365.® Thus the only possible interpretation of Zosimus is to hold that 
Theodosius made a more thorough organization of the previously exist- 
ing system, abolished the difference between the Master of the Horse 
and the Master of the Foot (for all are henceforth magistri equitum et 
peditum), strictly defined the military districts, which perhaps lacked 
the necessary precision, and increased their number by the addition of 
the Thracian command. The time of this reorganization falls after 

1 Amm. 26, 5, 2, 365; 27, 5, 2, 367; mag. mil. C. Th. 7, 4, 12, 364. 

2 Amm. 26, 5, 2; 27, 5, 4; 5, 9. 

3 Id. 26, 5, 2, partes tuebatur eoas,d. in 378, Iulius, magister mililum trans Taurum, 
id. 31, 16, 8. 

4 Id. 26, 5, 2; 5, 11; C. Th. 7, 1, 8, 365; CIL. .3, 10, 596. 

6 4, 27, rote Si tuv aTpaTUtiTucav fiyovnivovs TrAeiora r) Trpdrepov tlpyaaaro, Ivds 
yb.p ovtos iirirapxov, nal his ferJ tuv Treftoy Ttraypivov, n^eioaiv fj irkvrt rafrras dtivu/it 
t&s bpyas. 

6 N. D. occ. p. 103; Mommsen, Hermes, XXXVI, p. 538. The position of Gildo, 
comes, et mag. utriusque militiae per Africam, C. Th. 9, 7, 9, 393 a.d. was merely 
temporary and did not reappear until Justinian, cf. Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 7, p. 
1360. 

' N. D. or. p. 1. 

8 The magister militum per Thracias appears for the first time in C. Th. 7, 17, r, 
412 A.D. 



122 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

386, 1 and Zosimus places it during the presence of Theodosius in 
Thessalonica 388-380, 2 so that 388 may be the correct date. 3 As has 
been remarked, this arrangement did not affect the West, where the old 
system continued, and for which the Notitia shows a magister peditum 
in praesenti, a magister equitum in praesenti and a magister equitum per 
Gallias.* In the East no further change took place in the number of 
the Masters until the reign of Justinian (527-565 a.d.) who added two 
new offices, one the magister militum per Armeniam, 5 and the other the 
magister militum perAfricam? Still later, under the emperor Mauritius, 
a magister militum Spaniae was appointed. 7 In the West, with the 
possible exception of a magister militum Dalmatiae, s no new mastership 
was called into being. The development of these offices in this part of 
the Empire ran a different course than in the East, ending in the con- 
centration of the powers of the two Masters in the Presence (in 
praesenti) in the hands of a single person and the rise of the barbarian 
generalissimi who finally overthrew the Empire of the West. 

Having thus taken a general survey of the distribution of these mas- 
terships throughout the Empire it is time for us to examine the internal 
development which took place in the character of the offices. Con- 
stantine I. had appointed his two Masters with the idea that the 
emperor or one of the Caesars should conduct each important campaign 
in person, entrusting no general with a wide command over both in- 
fantry and cavalry. 9 Thus the field army, composed of the palatini 
and comitatenses, would be always under the direct orders of the 
Augusti and Caesars, assisted by the Masters, for it was over these 
corps and not over the fortress troops (limitanei or castrenses) that the 
Masters were placed. But soon, probably when the number of im- 
perial rulers was reduced to two in 340, it was found impossible for 
these to take the field upon every occasion, and consequently it became 

1 For then Timasius was a magister equitum of the old order, C. Th. 4, 17, 5. 

2 Zos. I. c, cf. Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, 1, 2, pp. 463 ff. 

3 Timasius was then magister equitum et peditum, Ambrosius, Ep. 41; cf. C. Th. 7, 
13, 39, Archomes, comes et magister equitum et peditum, Mommsen, Hermes, XXXVI, 
p. 537. The irXdwnv ij whre of Zosimus may possibly be understood, with Momm- 
sen, 0. c. p. 536, to refer to codiciliarii magistri, but that does not seem quite 
satisfactory. 

4 N. D. occ. p. 103. B C. J. 1, 29, 5. 8 Id. 1, 27, 2. 
7 CIL. 2, 432, 589-590 a.d. 8 C. /. 6, 61, 5, 475 a.d. 

9 Mommsen, Hermes, XXXVI, p. 534. Seeck, Gesch. d. Untergangs, 2, p. 84. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 123 

necessary to intrust the conduct of campaigns to one of the Masters. 
For such commands it seems that a Master of the Horse was usually 
selected. 1 From the first the Master of the Foot appears to have had 
the superior rank which he maintained in the West, for in many 
instances a Master of the Horse was promoted to this command, 2 and 
it was among the Masters of the Foot that rivals for the throne arose. 3 

Now these independent commands necessitated the control of both 
branches of the service, infantry and cavalry, being intrusted to the 
same Master. This naturally led, at first doubtless in popular, but 
ere long in official, language, to the introduction of the title magister 
equitum et peditum, which appears in the imperial constitutions as early 
as 349 4 and in inscriptions after 36s. 5 A variant form of the title was 
magister utriusque militiae, which occurs in an inscription of the year 
370, 6 although it is not found in the constitutions prior to 383.' A 
third form of the title was magister militum, which first appears in the 
address of a constitution of 34c;, 8 but is not attested by inscriptions 
before the time of Justinian, 9 so that until then it was perhaps not a 
strictly official form. From the foregoing it will be seen that the 
change in the character of the masterships instituted by Constantine 
was in full progress by 349 a.d. 

The same military necessities which had led to the employment of 
Masters of the Horse on independent commands caused the formation 
of the military dioceses of Gaul, Illyricum, Thrace, and the Orient. 
The continual exposure of the parts of the Empire to barbaric inva- 
sions demanded the constant presence of a general with greater au- 
thority than the local comites and duces and with part of the field army 

1 E. g., Lupicinus in the Orient and the magister equitum per Gallias, Amm. 26, 5, 
2; also Ursicinus, id. 15, 2. 

2 E.g., Ursicinus magister equitum, Amm. 1 5, 2, called to become magister peditum 
ad commilitium principis, id. 20, 2; cf. the instances quoted by Mommsen, Hermes, 
XXXVI, p. 534- 

3 Amm. is, s, 17; 18, 3, 1; 27, 6, 3. 

4 C. Th. 7, 1, 2. 

6 CIL. 3, 10,506, 365-367 a.d.; 3, 88, 371; 3, 3653, 371; etc. 

6 CIL. 3, 5670, of a Master elsewhere called mag. eq. et ped., cf. 3, 3653 etc. 

' C. Th. 9, 39, 1. 

8 Id. 8, 7, 3 and frequently thereafter. 

9 CIL. 8, (101), 259, 1863, 4677, 4779, 4799, all under Justinian; 8, 4354, 578-582 
a.d.; 2, 432, 589-590; 6, 32,050, 589 A.D. 



124 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

at his disposal. 1 This need Theodosius recognized in his reorganiza- 
tion of the Masters in the East. Moreover, he made a change of far 
reaching importance in regard to the Master of the Foot. The army 
which had its headquarters in the vicinity of the eastern court was 
divided between two magistri militum, called in praesenti or praesen- 
tales. 2 The motive for this was perhaps fear of the power of the Master 
of the Foot, 3 rather than the division of the emperor's court between 
Antioch and Constantinople. 4 In the East from this time the com- 
mand of the military forces at the capital was never concentrated in the 
hands of one officer, 5 but, much to the advantage of the rulers, was 
divided between two officials of equal rank. 

The situation in the West was far otherwise. Constantine's aim of 
personal control on the part of the emperor which prevailed, in part at 
least, in the East failed completely there. Owing to the rule of " weak- 
lings and women " the real power fell into the hands of a generalissimo, 
who united in his person the offices of magister equitum and magister 
peditum praesentalis, and thus concentrated in his hands the whole 
military power of the Empire in the West. The first of these Reichs- 
verderbende Reichsretter, as Mommsen 6 calls them, was Abogast, 
placed by Theodosius I to act as general for the youthful Valen- 
tinian II. 7 Stilicho succeeded to his position as guardian of the 
Empire under the nominal rule of Honorius, 8 and from the date of his 
appointment in 394 until the fall of the Roman power in 476, the West 

1 The relation of the Masters to these provincial commanders and to the Prefects 
will be considered below. 

2 N. D. or. p. 1. Praesentalis is rarely found outside of the Notitia but occurs in 
C. J. 1 2, 54, 4, 425-450 a.d. ; Iohannes magister militum praesentalium id. 1 2, 35, 16. 
492 A.D.; com{es) et mag(ister) eq(uitum) et p(editum) praes(entalis) CIL. 5, 8121, 3; 

5, 8120, 3. 

3 So Mommsen, Hermes, XXXVI, p. 537. 

4 Hodgkin, Italy and her Invaders, 1, 2, p. 613. 

6 Indeed they seem never to have been so concentrated, except perhaps under 
Jovian, Amm. 28, 8, 9; Mommsen, 0. c. p. 541. 

6 L.c. 

7 Zos. 4, 53; Philostorgius, 10, 8; Prosper, Chronica, a. 388. His title was 
magister equitum et peditum. Prosper, a. 392 has magister exercitus. 

8 Zos. 4, 59. He was called magister utriusque militiae, CIL. 6, 1188-1190, 1730- 
I 733> 3 I >9 I 4> 9> 4°S i j C Th. 7, 13, 18; 20, 13; magister equitum peditumque, CIL. 

6, 1730; magister militum, C. Th. 1, 7. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 125 

was hardly ever without one of these army-kings. Constantinus, 1 
Castinus, 2 Felix, 3 Aetius, 4 Bonifacius, 8 Ricimer 6 and Orestes 7 in turn, 
as Masters of the Soldiers, were the real rulers at Rome. During the 
whole of this period there seems to have been no regular coordinate or 
even subordinate magister praesentalis to divide the military command 
with the above mentioned Masters. 8 This unity of military command 
naturally led to the abandonment of the older titles magister equitum 
praesentalis and magister peditum praesentalis and the adoption of the 
designation magister utriusque militiae, already officially employed in 
the East. The question then arises of how the arrangement given in 
the Notitia Dignitatum, where, as has been seen, the Master of the 
Horse and the Master of the Foot in the Presence both find a place, can 
be reconciled with the new development. The answer seems to be 
that here, as elsewhere, the Notitia records a system which had fallen 
into disuse by the time of its final composition, while theoretically the 
view may even then have been held that the magister utriusque mili- 
tiae was simply uniting in his hands two offices, not as a matter of 
necessity from a constitutional point of view but under the pressure of 
special circumstances. 9 

Thus far we have considered the rise and the development of the 
offices of the Masters of the Soldiers and may now turn our attention 
to the history of the dissolution of the several masterships. Their 
disappearance was not due to any one administrative enactment but 
they variously dropped out of existence, or were transformed into, or 
absorbed by, other offices, at different times and under different 
circumstances. As far as is possible the story of the fall of each will 
be traced separately. 

(a) Magister Militum per Gallias. — The official entitled magister 
equitum per Gallias in the Notitia had assumed, by 457, the title of 

1 Prosper, a. 412; C. Th. 7, 1, 18; 15, 14, 4; 17, 4, 34. 

2 Idatius, Chronicon, a. 422. * Id. a. 426. 

4 Prosper, a. 429; Vol. Nov. 9, 6; 17, 33; cf. Clinton, Fasti Romani, pp. 612 ff. 

6 Prosper, a. 432. 

6 Consularia Ravennalia, a. 457; Maiorian. Nov. 1, 13, 458; 11, 460. 

' Jordanes, de rebus Gothicis, a. 474. 

8 Mommsen, 0. c. p. 543. 

9 Cf. Mommsen, Hermes, XXXVI, p. 543; Seeck, Quaestiones ad Notitiam 
Dignitatum, pp. 9 ff. The view here presented is, in the main, that of Mommsen. 



126 Arthur Edward Romitty Book 

comes et magister utriusque militiae per Gallias, 1 in imitation, probably, 
of the change of title that had been made in connection with the mas- 
terships at the Western court. The last of the Masters thus officiating 
for Gaul was Aegidius, who held office from 457 to 464^ He had 
established himself as an independent ruler and, at the time of his 
death in 464, was preparing to make an attack upon Italy in alliance 
with Gaiseric. 3 It is true that about this time the title of magister 
militum was conferred by imperial authority upon some of the bar- 
barian kings who had entered the Roman service and had received 
lands for their peoples in Gaul. Thus Gundioc, the Burgundian, was 
in 463 called vir illustris, magister militum, in a letter of Pope Hilary to 
Leontius, 4 and a correspondent of Sidonius Apollinaris 6 attributes 
the same title to another king of the same people, Chilperic. How- 
ever, it is uncertain to what extent or for how long this practice of 
bestowing military masterships was in vogue, and these Burgundian 
princes appear only to have exercised their office over the districts 
where their followers were settled so that Aegidius may properly be 
regarded as the last holder of the office of magister militum per Gallias. 

(b) Magister Militum Praesentalis in the West. — It has been shown 
how the offices of magister peditum and magister equitum praesentalis 
in the West came to be concentrated in the hands of one magister 
militum. This commander-in-chief on several occasions attained the 
imperial purple 6 or played the r61e of king-maker.' For the reign of 
Odovacar (476-493) we have proof of the continuance of Roman institu- 
tions and officials; among the latter Masters of the Soldiers. 8 Under 
his successor Theodoric the official bureau of this Master was main- 
tained, 9 but the mastership is never mentioned in the Formulae of 

1 Priscus fr. 30, F. H. G. p. 104; Gregor. Tur., Historia Francorum, 2, 11; Idat. 
Chron. 217, 218 = Mommsen, Chronica Minora, 2, p. 33; Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 1, 
p. 476. 

2 LI. cc. 3 Cambridge Mediaeval History, 1, pp. 310, 425. 
* Ep. 9, Hilari Papae, Migne, Pat. Lat. 58, p. 27. 

6 Ep. 5, 6, cf. Fustel de Coulanges, L'invasion Germanique (ed. Jullian), pp. 452 ff. 
6 E. g. Maiorianus, Sid. Apoll. Carm. 5, 379; Clinton, F. R. a. 457. 
' E. g. Ricimer and Orestes, cf. Camb. Med. Hist. 1, pp. 428 ff. 

8 Anonymus Valesii, 51, 54; Chron. Rav. a. 493; Mommsen, Neues Archiv, XIV, 
p. 505, n - 3- 

9 Cass. Var. 6, 3. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 127 

Cassiodorus. 1 Mommsen 2 has shown the reason for this omission in 
pointing out that Theodoric himself held the office of Master of the 
Soldiers. He had come to Italy as a Master from the East and seems 
to have regarded himself as always holding that office. In this respect 
his position is somewhat comparable to that of the Burgundian Mas- 
ters mentioned in the preceding section. The Gothic successors of 
Theodoric probably imitated his policy with regard to this mastership. 3 
On the fall of the Ostrogothic Kingdom in 540, Justinian in all 
likelihood appointed a military commander on the old model for the 
new province. 4 However, there is no evidence that this official was 
called magister militum Italiae? and, indeed, the title of magister 
militum was employed from this time in Italy to designate military 
officers of an inferior rank. 6 But by the year 589 the chief representa- 
tive of the Byzantine government in Italy had assumed the title of 
Exarch of Italy, 7 a change which may have taken place under Justin II. 8 
This new official, the Exarch, had not only full military authority but 
also controlled the civil government, through the subordination of the 
Prefect to his orders. 9 This centralization of authority, this combina- 
tion of civil and military functions, was a return to the conditions of the 
Principate. The change was not a sudden one but may be character- 
ized as a gradual usurpation of civil authority by the military official, 
caused by the necessity of concentrating all power in the hands of one 
person in the effort to cope with the military exigencies of the time, 
i. e., the Lombard invasion. 10 In this way the old office of Master of 
the Soldiers disappeared in Italy and the system out of which it had 
grown, namely the separation of the civil and military authority, was 
discarded. 

1 Mommsen, I. c. 2 L. c. 3 0. c. p. 185. 

4 Cf. The practice in Africa and Spain; Mommsen, I. c. 

6 Belisarius had no distinctive title and Narses was designated by his titles 
of rank alone — vir gloriosissimus, vir excellentissimus, patricius, — Mommsen, I. c. 

6 Paulus Diaconus, 3, 8, 27; Gregorius Magnus, Ep. 9, 93; 13, 33; cf. Hart- 
mann, Catnb. Med. Hist. pp. 225, 228. 

7 Julianus, E£apxos 'I(toXios), Rossi, Inscriptions Ckristianae, 2, p. 455. For 
Exarch as used by Pope Pelagius in 584 cf. Mommsen, I. c. 

8 Diehl, VExarchat de Ravenna, p. 15. 

9 Gelzer, Themenverfassung, p. 7. 

10 Gelzer, I. c; Diehl, 0. c. pp. 1-15; Hartmann, 0. c. 395-396. 



128 Arthur Edward Romttly Book 

(c) M agister Militum Africae. — Upon the recovery of Africa for the 
Romans by Belisarius in 544, that province was organized by Justinian 
under a Pretorian Prefect and a Master of the Soldiers, the separation 
between military and civil offices being thus preserved. 1 A. Miiller 2 
thinks that, because the full title magister militum Africae does not 
appear in the imperial constitution which brought into effect the 
organization of Justinian, no such appointment was made and that a 
magister militum praesentalis of Constantinople was in command of the 
troops in Africa. But that there was a magister militum Africae in 
578-582 is certain, 3 and we have no reference to a later creation of this 
office. Also in CIL. 8, 4677, which reads <TTpa[Trjyov] Ka[i kirap%ov rrjs 
' k<j>pi\K.r\s ZoX6/x[cocos], and dates from the reign of Justinian, the word 
'A<t>pLKr]s seems to qualify aTpaTriyov (magister) as well as kirapxov (prae- 
fectus). In the Latin inscriptions Solomon appears as magister 
militum without any qualification, but it does not follow that he was a 
magister militum praesentalis because the word Africae is not used, for 
all these inscriptions come from Africa. 4 

In Africa, as elsewhere, the Master commanded the comitatenses and 
also the limitanei, these latter through their duces. But in the matter 
of supplies, pay, and equipment, the duces were dependent upon the 
Prefect. 5 However, although this nominal division of authority was 
maintained in theory, in practice it was not observed. Thus in 535 
Solomon, the Master, was at the same time Prefect. 6 In 536, Ger- 
manus, probably accompanied by a Prefect was sent out to supersede 
him, 7 but three years later Solomon returned with the same powers as 
before, and, during the rest of Justinian's reign, the prefecture and the 
mastership were held by one person or else the former office was sub- 

1 C. J. j, 27, 2. 2 Philologus, 1912, pp. 106-107. 

3 CIL. 8, 43S4, A. Vital[io] mag[nifico] el in[htstri] m[agistro] m[ilitum] Afr[i]ca[e]. 

4 CIL. 8, 101, 1863, 4677, 4799. I also think that Miiller, /. c, is wrong in calling 
Johannes and Dominicus magistri peditum (Procopius, Bellum Vandalicum, 1, 11, 
P* 359? Bonn, rots t&v Tre£G>v lyyejuoax 6,-Katnv £<pei(TTTiicei, and 2, 16, p. 482 tQ iref$ 
(TrparQ iiruTTfiauiv) . Both were infantry commanders but under the orders of Belisa- 
rius and Germanus respectively, and do not correspond to the older magistri peditum, 
long since entitled magistri militum. Further there is no reason to call Demetrius, 
or/xmryos, id. Bellum Gothicum, 3, 6, p. 303, magister militum Italiae, see above. 

5 C. J. 1, 29, 2. 

6 Diehl, L'Afrique Byzantine, p. 177. ' Procop. B. V. p. 482. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 129 

ordinated to the latter. 1 In this way in Africa appeared the first signs 
of the reunion of civil and military authority. 2 

A Master of the Soldiers in Africa is found under Tiberius in the 
person of Vitalius, 3 but by 591 the Exarch of Africa, with powers 
superior to those of the Prefect, had succeeded the Master. 4 So the 
same process went on in Africa as in Italy and culminated in the 
appointment of a single official clothed with the highest civil and 
military authority. In each of these cases it was the military office 
that absorbed the power of the civil authority and, on account of its 
increased importance, received a new and higher title. 

(d) M agister Militum per Illyricum. — In Illyricum the course of 
events ran somewhat differently than in Africa and Italy. Our in- 
formation regarding the administration of this province during the 
first half of the sixth century is very scanty. However, in the seventh 
the Prefect functioning there appears to have assumed the duties of the 
Master of the Soldiers. 5 In this case it was the civil that had absorbed 
the military office; but the result, the union of civil and military 
power in the hands of the chief official, was attained here as elsewhere. 
The reason for the inversion of the ordinary process is not clear. 
Gelzer 6 suggests that, as Illyricum was regarded as lost to the Byzan- 
tine Empire, adequate measures for the military protection of the 
province were not taken by the central government, and therefore, the 
defence of the country devolved upon the Pretorian Prefect, who 
continued to govern almost independently. 7 

(e) Magister Militum per Thracias. — The seventh century was a 
period of great military activity in the East as well as in the West. 
The assaults of the barbarian peoples upon the northern and eastern 
frontiers of the Empire were incessant and forced the defenders of the 
older culture world to exert themselves to the utmost to maintain their 

1 Diehl, I. c. 2 Diehl, o. c. p. 17. 

3 CIL. 8, 4354, id. 2245 refers to Gemadius (comes ?) sent by Tiberius in 578 as 
magister militum to Africa. He was recalled in 580, cf. Diehl, p. 473. 

4 Greg. Mag. Ep. 1, 59; Diehl, p. 473, n. 4, 474. 

5 Gelzer, Themenverf. p. 41, where attention is called to the parallel offered by 
Egypt, in which province the civil governor, the Augustalis, obtained the military 
command with the title of dux. 

* L.c. r Gelzer, L 6- 



130 Arthur Edward Romitty Book 

existence. In the storm and stress of this epoch a new military 
organization, that of the themes (dt/xaTa), developed, which put an end 
to the dioceses of the Masters of the Soldiers. The steps of this move- 
ment are obscure, but it is certain that it was a gradual one and that it 
had its beginning in the reign of Heraclius (610-641). * Speaking sum- 
marily, one may say that the themes were at first purely military dis- 
tricts, or perhaps rather the corps stationed in these districts, 2 formed 
by the division of the commands of the Masters of the Soldiers into 
smaller units. 3 Under Leo the Isaurian (717-740), however, the old 
civil provinces and their governors were abolished, the military officials 
given civil authority, and their army districts raised to civil provinces. 4 

One of the new military districts thus created corresponded in 
general to the previous mastership in Thrace. This was the 6ep,a twv 
Qpaicluv which was commanded by an official styled Tra.TpiKt.os ko.1 
aTpaTi}y6s. b The date of the establishment of this Thracian theme may 
be placed roughly at some time shortly before 687. 6 

(/) Magister Militum per Orientem. — The sphere of the Master of 
the Soldiers in the Orient was, according to the de Tkematibus, broken 
up under Maurice (582-602) ? The cause of this change is said to have 
been the military needs arising from the invasions of a people called 
the 'Ayapnvoi (Avars). 8 What remained of the original command 
became the Anatolian theme. 9 As in Thrace the commander of this 
theme was a Tcarpiiaos Kal or parriy 6s. 10 The organization of the new 
command was completed before 66o. u 

(g) Magister Militum per Armeniam. — The establishment of the 
military Mastership of Armenia by Justinian has been noticed already. 
Under Maurice it grew to be a very important command, 12 but in the 
course of the seventh century its extent was greatly circumscribed. 

1 Gelzer, p. 9. 

a Diehl, L'Origine du Regime des Themes dans I' Empire byzantine, p. 12; Gelzer, 
pp. 54 ff. 

3 Constantine Porph., de Thematibus, 1, pp. 12, 13 — 13, 3; 16, 5-13 (Bonn). 

4 Gelzer, pp. 75 ff. 6 Diehl, 0. c. p. 53. 

6 Gelzer, 0. c. p. 10. ' Const. Por., de Them. 16. 

8 L. c. 

9 Gelzer, 0. c. p. 53. 

10 Id. p. 10. " Diehl, 0. c. p. 53. 

a Theophanes, p. 175, 7-10 (Bonn); Gelzer, 0. c. p. 20. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 131 

The major portion, however, remained as the Armenian theme, to 
dkua t&v 'ApfttviaKciv, 1 which received its new title before 665 . 2 

(k) Magistri MUitum Praesentales in the Eastern Empire. — The 
magistri militum praesentales of the East disappeared completely in the 
seventh century. The imperial armies of the capital and the adjacent 
parts of Europe and Asia were united in one command, called to 
6to<t>vKaKTbv fio.crikiK.dv oi/'kiov. The officer commanding these troops 
was known as the ic6/ir)s tov 6\piidov. The reorganization here, as in 
Thrace, was completed before 687 a.d. 3 

It is clear that in this new military system of the Byzantine Empire 
the xorptKtoi Kai ffTparq'yoi of the seventh century were the heirs of the 
magistri militum of the sixth. 4 Since in the period from the fourth to 
the seventh century the title aTparriyos was employed as often as that 
of oTpaTr\\a.Tr]s for the Masters of the Soldiers in the East, if not 
more frequently, there was practically no change in the title of the 
chief military officials. However, the office of arpaTi\y6s seems at this 
time to have conferred upon its holder the patrician dignity. The 
union of civil and military authority in the hands of the oTpaT-qyoi 
under Leo III has been related above. 

Two magistri militum left no successors in the later Byzantine 
Empire for the districts that formed their spheres of action were lost to 
the imperial power. These Masters were the magister militum Dal- 
matiae and the magister militum Spaniae. 

(i) Magister Militum Spaniae. — There is but one notice of a 
magister militum Spaniae and that is found in an inscription of the 
year 589-590. 5 Here we have mention of a Commencirolus, Master of 
the Soldiers in Spain, " sent by the Emperor Maurice against the bar- 
barian foe," 6 who was recalled from this mastership to a command in 
Thrace. 7 Now the occupation of parts of Spain by the imperial forces 
took place in 550, when, during a contest for the throne of the 
Visigoths, the weaker of the rivals appealed to Justinian who, while 
sending aid to the petitioner, occupied several towns and refused to 

1 Gelzer, o. c. p. 24. 2 Diehl, 0. c. p. 53. 

3 Gelzer, 0. c. p. 10; Diehl, I. c. 

* Diehl, 0. c. p. 60. 6 CIL. 3, 3420. 

• Id., missus a Mauricio Augusto contra hostes barbaros. 
7 Clinton, F . R. 2, p. 151. 



132 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

evacuate them. 1 This territory was held by the Empire until 620. 2 It 
does not seem probable that Justinian created a mastership for Spain, 
for, if he had done so, we should probably have some record thereof in 
a constitution. Therefore we may conclude that one of his successors 
appointed a Master of the Soldiers for Spain on the model of the 
Master in Africa, and that this office continued to exist until the 
Visigoths recovered their lost possessions. 

(j) M agister Militum Dalmatiae. — Regarding the magister militum 
Dalmatiae our information is also very scanty. A constitution of 473 
mentions a certain Nepos, magister militum Dalmatiae, 3 and this seems 
to be the only evidence for the existence of the Dalmatian mastership. 4 

In 395 Dalmatia was separated from the Eastern and added to the 
Western half of the Empire. Up to the time of the publication of the 
Notitia this province does not seem to have had a special military com- 
mander. But about 454 a noble named Marcellianus (MapfceXXivos or 
MapntWiavos, in the Greek sources), upon the death of Aetius, refused 
to acknowledge the authority of the emperor of the West, and ruled 
Dalmatia independently. 5 A conspiracy was at one time on foot to 
raise him to the throne. 6 However, Marcellianus later became recon- 
ciled with Constantinople and operated against the Vandals in Sar- 
dinia in conjunction with Heraclius, by whose treachery he met his 
death in 468J There is no direct evidence to show that he bore the 
title of magister militum, although that is not at all unlikely. 

The nephew of Marcellianus was Julius Nepos who ascended the 
Western throne in 474, was deposed in 475, and retired to his estates in 
Dalmatia, where he was put to death in 480. 8 

1 Isidore, Hist. Goth, in Monumenta Germaniae Historiae, 11, p. 286, Athanagildus 
— militum sibi auxilia ab imperatore lustiniano poposcerat, quos postea submovere a 
finibus regni molitus non potuit. Carthagena was one of the points occupied, CIL. 
2, 3420. 

2 Isid., Hist. 62; Chronica, 416 = MGH. 11, pp. 292, 480. 
» C. /. 6, 61, S . 

4 The Nepotianus magister militiae, recorded by Idatius for the year 459, was 
apparently not a holder of this office. 

6 Procopius, B. V. p. 336, 8 (Bonn) ; Suidas, Lexicon s. v. c&tovoiuk, ob&&k oi 
els xctpas l^vtu roX^ffajros. 

6 Sid. Apol. 1, 11, 6. 

7 Procop. B. V. p. 339, 20. 8 Marcellinus, Chron. a. 480. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 133 

It is a question whether this Julius Nepos is the Nepos of the con- 
stitution of 473. In the address of the constitution a variant reading 
gives the name as Nepotianus, 1 and the Emperor's name is also found 
in this form. 2 His Dalmatian origin is mentioned likewise. 3 It has 
been suggested 4 that the Nepos of the edict was the father of Julius 
Nepos; but, taking into consideration the date of the constitution, 
473, and that of the elevation of Nepos to the purple, 474, it seems 
reasonable to conclude that this Julius was the magister militum Dal- 
matiae. It is probable, therefore, that the Emperor Leo came to an 
agreement with Marcellianus, whereby Dalmatia became a province of 
the Eastern half of the Empire and, in return, the chief military com- 
mand there was raised to the dignity of a mastership and conferred 
upon a member of the powerful family which had given proof of its 
influence in the province. It is impossible to say how long this master- 
ship was in existence. 



The Official Rank of the Magistri Militum. 

The rank which the Masters of the Soldiers held among the officials 
of the Roman Empire is now to be considered. Their position can 
best be judged from a review of the various titles of rank with which 
they were honored. These titles were the following. 

(1) Comes. — The magistri militum during the fourth and early part 
of the fifth century seem regularly to have borne the title comes. It 
first occurs in a constitution of 340, 6 and, although it is frequently 
omitted in the addresses of similar documents, the titles viri ittustres 
comites et magistri equitum, 6 universi comites et magistri equitum et 
peditum, 7 and comites et magistri utriusque militiae 8 testify to the fre- 
quency with which these Masters enjoyed this rank. 

In the Notitia Dignitatum the Masters do not have the title comes, 
which, however, appears regularly in the inscriptions from 365-367 to 

1 C. /. 6, 61, s ed., Freiesleben; Clinton, F. R. p. 679. 

2 Theophanes, a. 436. 8 L. c. 

4 Means, in Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography, s. v. Nepos. 
6 C. Th. 7, 1, 2, Silvanus comes et magister equitum et peditum. 

6 C. /. 1, 29, 1, 386-387 A.D. 

7 C. Th. 12, i, 113, 386 a.d. 8 Id. 1, 21, 1, 393. 



134 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

420. 1 But in the inscriptions of the next century this title is not found 
at all, and its last connection with a mastership in the West is in a con- 
stitution of Marjorian of 460 a.d. 2 The last eastern constitution with 
a similar reference dates from 441. 3 

The cause of this abandonment of the title comes was a change that 
was made in its employment. Except where it had become a fixed 
part of the title of an office, as e. g., comes sacrarum largitionum, in 
which case it was no longer a purely honorary designation, comes 
tended to be applied more and more to the lower grades of officials, 
and, in general, to those who were exempt from the curial munera.* 
Consequently it was abandoned by the higher officials. 5 

(2) Perfectissimus. — At first the magistri militum belonged to the 
class of the perfectissimi. 6 However, before 365 they had been ad- 
mitted to the higher class of the clarissimi, as is clear from the inscrip- 
tion of Equitius dating from that time. 7 

(3) Clarissimus. — The clarissimate of these Masters is not attested 
by the Theodosian Code but, apart from the inscription of Equitius, it 
is proved by inscriptions of 370 8 and 371, the latter reading dispositione 
Jtdi(i), v(iri) cilarissimi), comitis, magistri equitum et peditum. 9 How- 
ever, in this latter year Equitius appears as an illustris. 10 Consequently 

1 CIL. 3, 10,596, Equitio v(iro) c(larissimo) , comite, magistro equitum peditumque, 
365-367; id. 5670, 370; Julius, 3, 88, 371; Stilicho 6, 1730, 398-399; 1731-1734, 
405-408; 1188-1190, 4051, 31,914, id.; 5, 8120, 3, Petrus; Rossi, 1, 612 Fl(avio) 
Co[n]st[antino] v(iro) c(larissimo) et inl(ustrissimo) , comiti et magistro utr[iusque 
militiae], 420 a.d. 

2 Mai. Nov. 11, Ricimer, v(ir) inl(ustris), comes el magister utriusque militiae. 

3 Th. Nov. 7, 4. 

4 However, comes seems to have remained in some cases in the West as a title for 
high military officers, for Aegidius, magister militum in Gaul appears as comes 
utriusque militiae for 463 a.d. in Idat. Chron. 218 = Mommsen, Chronica Minora, 

2, P- 33- 

5 Seeck in Pauly-Wissowa, 4, p. 636. 

6 Bonosus, mag(ister) mil(itum), p{erfectissimus) v{ir), inscribed on a brick found 
at Carnutum, Hirschfeld, die Ranktitel der romischen Kaiserzeit, Kl. Schriften, p. 
657, n. 3. Bonosus was Master in 347, C. Th. 5, 6, 1. 

7 CIL. 3, 10,596, quoted above. 

8 CIL. 3, 56700, also of Equitius. 
» Id. 3, 88. 

10 Id. 3, 3653, illustris viri, utriusque militiae magistri. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 135 

it must have been in 371 that the magistri militum were raised to the 
illustrissimate. 1 

A defunct clarissimus was spoken of as clarissimae memoriae, and an 
ex-Master is so designated in a constitution of 360, 2 but as he was also 
an ex-Consul it is not certain that he owed his clarissimate to his 
mastership. If this were so, then the magistri militum had become 
clarissimi before 365. 

(4) Illustris. — We have seen that the Masters became illustres in 
371, and as such they appear in a constitution of the following year. 3 
They also have this title in the Notitia.* 

Frequently illustris was joined with clarissimus, which after this 
time was no longer used alone as a Master's title. Thus Stilicho is 
regularly entitled vir clarissimus et inlustris, 5 and Constantinus had the 
same designation. 6 This combination has been explained by referring 
the clarissimus to the inherited senatorial, and the illustris to the 
acquired official, rank. 7 

As an alternate form for illustris, illustrissimus was sometimes em- 
ployed, as in the cases of Stilicho in 398-399 8 and Sigisvuldus in 440. 9 
The former is also styled illustris et praeclarus vir. 1 " 

In 372 the Prefects and the Masters of the Soldiers formed a class of 
illustres of equal rank. 11 Upon retirement to a private station they 
took precedence according to the date at which they had received their 
appointments (codicilli) . 12 In 485 these Masters were classed below 
the Prefects 13 as they are in the Notitia. But another constitution of 

1 Cf. Hirschfeld, Kl. Schriften, pp. 651 ff. 

2 C. Th. 11, 1, 1, clarissimae memoriae Eusebio, exconsule et exmag[is]tro equitum et 
peditum. For the date cf. the edition of Mommsen and Meyer, ad he. 

3 C. Th. 6, 7, 1 = C. /. 12,4, 1. Also in 386-387, C. /. 1, 20, 1, viri illustres comites 
et magistri. 

4 N. D. or. sect. VI, occ. V. 

5 CIL. 6, 1188-1190, 1731-1734 (403-408 a.d.), 31,914. 

6 Rossi, 1, 612, 420 a.d. 

7 Koch, die Byzantinischen Beamtentitel von 400 bis 700, p. 12. 

8 Flavio Stilichoni, illustrissimo viro, CIL. 6, 1 730. 

9 Vol. Nov. 9, 1, 10. 10 CIL. 9, 4651. 

11 C. Th. 6, 7, 1, indiscretae dignitatis. 

12 Id. This rule was especially enforced ttbi intra secretaria extraordinariosque 
conventus subest ratio visendi salutandive iudicis. 

a C. J. 3, 24, 3. 



136 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

Zeno (474-491) gives a first class of illustres composed of the Prefects 
and the magistri militum, 1 just as in 372. 

It cannot be determined exactly when these Masters ceased to be 
styled illustres. In 520 a Master called Romanus still held that title 2 
and an ex-Master appears as an illustris about 525.' Further, an 
inscription dating from between 578 and 582, if restored correctly, 
reads Vita[lio], mag[nifico et] inl(ustri) m[agistro] m[ilitum] Africae* 
However, this is the only instance of a Master having the title illustris 
after the first quarter of the sixth century, and, since in 535 they were 
gloriosissimi, it is probable that the Masters were raised above the 
illustrissimate between 520 and the latter date. 

(5) Magnificus. — The title magnificus, which apparently denoted 
the same rank as illustris, 6 was used by the Masters before the middle 
of the fifth century. 6 Magnificus and illustris were sometimes com- 
bined as in the title magister militum illustris et magnificus? and, again, 
the two titles were used without distinction, as in a constitution of 
Theodosius, 8 where vir illustris magister militum and vir magnificus 
magister militum occur indifferently. These and similar instances 
show that there was no real distinction in rank between the illustres et 
magnifici and the illustres. 9 

As Ulustrissimus was an alternate form for illustris, so magnificentis- 
simus sometimes took the place of magnificus, 10 and there is an example 
of a Master with both these designations — inlustrissimus et magni- 
ficentissimus Fl. Dionysius, utriusque exercitus magister. 11 Later, 

1 Id. 10, 32, 64. 

2 Mansi, Historia Conciliorum, 8, p. 498, vir illustris Romanus magister militum. 

3 CIL. 3, 8120, Fl. Theodoras Filoxenus Soterius, vir ill(ustris), com(es) domest(ico- 
rum), exmag{ister) per Thracias. 

* CIL. 8, 4354- 

5 Koch, pp. 43. 5i- 

6 C. J. 12, 8, 2, 440-441, vir magnificus Germanus magister militum. 
' C.J. 12,50,8,457-467- 

8 Th. Nov. 7, 4, 44i- 

9 C. J. 12, 59, 8, 409, ad inlustres et magnificos viros praefectos praetorio et inlustres 
viros magistros militum. 

» Koch, p. 45- 

11 Mansi, 4, p. 1467, 431, a.d., Koch, p. 97 doubts the genuineness of this Latin 
version for which the Greek is not extant. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 137 

magnificentissimus et gloriosissimus, with its Greek equivalent peyaXo- 
TrpexeoTaTos /cat ivdo^oTaros, becomes a fairly common title of the 
magistri militum. 1 

(6) Gloriosissimus. — Under Justinian the title gloriosus or gloriosis- 
simus, in Greek «i>5o£os or evSo^oTaros, denotes a new and higher rank 
than illustris or magnificus? We have already seen that the magistri 
militum were entitled magnificentissimus et gloriosissimus in the fifth 
century, and gloriosus alone appears between 514 and 523,' but it was 
probably not much before 530 that the class of the gloriosi, consisting 
of the Prefects, the Master of the Offices and the Masters of the Sol- 
diers, was officially constituted. 4 The last instance of the application 
of this title to a Master dates from 628. 8 

Gloriosissimus et excellentissimus is the title given in one of the 
inscriptions of Solomon, 6 magister militum under Justinian, but else- 
where he is merely styled gloriosissimus? 

We have thus followed the Masters of the Soldiers through the dif- 
ferent official grades from the perfectissimate to the gloriosissimate. 
The institution of these different rank classes was due to the great 
development of officialdom in the Empire and the consequent necessity 
of establishing a definite order of precedence among the officials in the 
imperial service. With the natural tendency to admit ever increas- 
ingly wider circles of officials to the existing dignities, it became 
necessary to create new and more exclusive classes for the higher mem- 
bers of the official bureaucracy. It is for this reason, then, that we find 
the magistri militum continually advancing from the wider to the 
narrower classes of rank. 

Apart from the above mentioned titles, which denoted definite 
classes in the official world, the Masters of the Soldiers enjoyed others 

1 Mansi, 5, p. 886; 6, pp. 564, 938; 7, pp. 1, 97, 127 ff., referring to Anatolius, 
Master in the Orient, c. 425-450, cf. C. /. 12, 54, 4. 

2 Koch, pp. 43, 65. 3 Mansi, 8, p. 483. 

4 Cf. C. /. 5, 70, 7, 6, 530; /. Nov. 8, ed., i, 535; id. 30, 536; Just. Ed. 8, 1, 
548 A.D. 

6 Chron. Pose. p. 131 (Bonn). Koch, p. 70, has a list of the examples up to that 
date. 

6 CIL. 8, 1863, cf. 101. 

7 Id. 8, 4677, 4799, cf. gl(oriosissimus) Mauritius mag{isler) mil(itum), Dessau, 
9217 a, b. 



138 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

that were attributed to the highest officials in general without refer- 
ence to any particular rank. These titles were the following. 

(1) Excelsus. — In a constitution of 492 a magister militum praesen- 
talis is designated as vir excelsus, 1 and the same title is used for the 
magistri militum generally in a similar document of the time of Jus- 
tinian. 2 

(2) Excellentissimus. — Under Justinian the Master of the Soldiers 
Solomon had the title of excellentissimus, — per gloriosum Solomonem 
excellentis(simum) magistrum militum [exconsule bis p]raefectum pre- 
torio, etc. 3 

(3) Eminentissimus. — In 444 a magister militum bore the title of 
eminentissimus* which continued to be attributed to these Masters 
even in the reign of Justinian. 6 

(4) Fortissimus. — The Masters of the Soldiers are once designated 
fortissimi* a title peculiarly applicable to those engaged in military 
service and frequently employed with reference to those of lower rank. 7 
The Greek phrase was avSpeioraroL arpaTriyol? 

(5) Sublimis. — The magistri militum were called sublimis as early 
as 438. 9 In 518 a Master was included among the sublimes et magnifici 
viri, 10 and in the following year a Master's vicarius was styled sublimis. 11 

Leon this, who in 528-529 was entitled vir sublimissimus magister 
militum, was also expraefectus pretorio, consularis atque patricius,® so 
that he may have owed the title of sublimissimus to another office than 

1 C. J. 12, 35, 18. 

2 Id. 4, 65, 35, sub excelsis magistris militum. 

8 CIL. 8, 101, cf. Koch, p. 91, who thinks that perhaps this title was due to other 
offices than the Mastership. In view of the position of the word that is hardly prob- 
able. 

1 C. J. 7, si, n. 

5 Id. 12, 35, 17, 472; 20, 529; 1, 3, 53, 533. 

6 /. Nov. 30, 6, 1. 

7 Koch, p. 96. 

8 J. Nov. I. c. 

9 Th. Nov. 4, 7, vir sublimis Anatolius magister utriusque militiae per Orientem. 

10 Inter quos magister militum Vitalianus, Mansi, 8, p. 454. 

11 Candido viro sublimi vicario magistri militum, Mansi, 8, p. 490. 

12 C. J. constitutions haec quae necessario and summa. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 139 

his mastership. However, it seems more natural that it should be 
bestowed on account of the position which he then occupied. 

(6) Parens. — Parens is a form of address used by the emperors of 
the West towards the magistri militum in the constitutions of the fifth 
century. In 440 Sigisvuldus was addressed as p[arens] k[arissime] 
a[tque] a[mantissime], 1 and in 445 Aetius received the same terms of 
honor. 2 In 458 Marjorian wrote erit apud nos cum parente patricioque 
Ricimeri rei militaris pervigilcura, 3 at a time when Ricimer was a 
magister militum. i It is probable that the peculiarly influential posi- 
tion of these Masters in the Western Empire was the ground for the 
conferment of this title. 

The Master's authority (magisteria potestas) 5 was itself dignified 
with the epithet illustrissima 6 or excelsa. 7 It conferred upon its 
holders the right to a series of substantive forms of address as compli- 
mentary as the honorary adjectival appellations of the magistri mili- 
tum, and in most cases, their equivalents. These forms follow in 
alphabetical order. 

(1) Auctoritas. — Tua auctoritas appears as early as 364,* and 
continues to be used throughout the fourth century. It was some- 
times qualified as illustris? or insignis, 10 and even as illustris et magni- 
ficat 

(2) Celsitudo. — Tua celsitudo was employed in the latter half of the 
fifth century. 12 

(3) Culmen. — Culmen tuum appears once in the early fifth century. 13 

1 Val. Nov. 6, 1. 2 Id. 6. 

5 Maior. Nov. i, 13. 

4 V(ir) inlifistris) com(es) et mag(ister) utr(iusque) mil(itiae) atque patricius, id. 11, 
460. 

6 Used from 398, C. Th. 1, 7, 3, to 534 C. J. 1, 27, 2; also in the Notitia. 

6 C. /. 12, 57, 16, 491-518. 

7 Id. 35, 18, 492. 
• C. Th. 7 , 4, 12. 

9 Id. 6, 24,6,395; 7,5, 1,399. 

10 Id. 8, 5, 56, 396; 7, 7, 3 = C. /. 11, 61, 2, 398. 

11 Th. Nov. 7, 441. 

12 Val. Nov. 33, 451; C. /. 12, 35, 18, 492; 37, 16, 491-518. 

13 C. Th. 1, 7, 4, 414. 



140 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

(4) Excellentia. — Tua excellentia occurs in one constitution of the 
fourth century. 1 

(5) Gloria. — Tua gloria came into use in the sixth century. 2 Its 
Greek equivalent was 17 ifieripa kvio^iynjs, which occurs with consider- 
able frequency. 3 

(6) Magnificentia. — Tua magnificentia was used during the later 
fourth and early fifth centuries. 4 

(7) Magnittido. — Tua magnitude appears in the late fourth and 
continues to be used in the two following centuries. 5 It is qualified as 
sublimis, 6 and as illustris et praecelsa? 

(8) Praestantia. — Tua praestantia occurs only in two constitutions 
of the early fifth century. 8 

(9) Sinceritas. — Tua sinceritas was used in the fourth century only. 9 

(10) Sublimitas. — Tua sublimitas was a common form of address 
used to the magistri militum from the end of the fourth until well on 
into the sixth century. 10 

Magister Militum as an Honorary Title. 

The dignity of a military mastership could, like that of a Master of 
the Offices and indeed of nearly all the imperial appointments, be 
conferred as an honor or reward for service, without entailing the 
performance of any duties. This practice gave rise to the two classes 
of ordinary and honorary Masters. 

1 C. Th. 8, 1, 101, 365. 

2 C. J. 1, 27, 2, 534; J. Nov. 155, 533; 145, 553. 

3 Greg. Ep. 1, 74; 2, 7, 32, 33; 9, 47, 53, 124, 159, 160, 162; 10, 10; Mansi, 10, 
p. 586, 625-638 A.D. 

4 C. Th. 12, 1, 113, 368; 7, 1, 13; 391; 8, 1, 15, 41s; 7, 7, 5, id. 

6 C. Th. 16, 8, 9, 393; C. J. 6, 61, 5, 473; 12, 35, 15, 458; 49, 11, 48S-486; 35, 
18, 492; 1, 29, s, 530; 27, 2, 534. 

6 C. Th. 16, 8, 9. 

7 Vol. Nov. 6, 1, 440; 17, 445. 

8 C. Th. 7, 17, 1, 412; 7, 1, 4, 414. 

9 C. Th. 7, 1, 9, 367; 20, 11, 373. 

10 C. Th. 1, 5, 10, 393; C. J. 12, 35, 3, 395-407; C. Th. 7, 17, 1, 412; 1, 8, 1, 
415; Th. Nov. 7, 4, 441; C. J. 6, 61, 5, 473; 12,35,17,474-491; 12,35,18,497; 
12, 37, 16, 491-518. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 141 

The ordinary magistri militum, called in actu positi or administra- 
tors, 1 naturally took precedence over those having merely the honor- 
ary rank, and from 382 were given the seniority over the consulares? 
Along with the Patricians, Prefects, Consuls and Consulars, these 
Masters were excused by Zeno from all the obligations falling upon 
members of the municipal councils. 3 

When they had vacated their office they were called honorati, and 
ranked with the ex-Prefects according to seniority of appointment. 4 
Their regular title was then ex-Master (exmagister) . 5 

The honorary Masters were divided into two classes, vacantes and 
honorarii, distinguished by the permission given to the former to wear 
the cinguium, or Master's belt of office, while the latter had only the 
codicilli, or letters patent of their rank. 6 

The vacantes in their turn were composed of two classes, (a) those 
who had earned their badge of office by service in the presence, and 
(b) those who had received it when on service elsewhere. 7 The 
honorarii included two similar groups of praesentes and absentes. The 
vacantes ranked above the honorarii, and the praesentes among each 
above the absentes. B 

The vacantes, however, might be intrusted with the duties of the 
ordinary Masters, in which case they were included among the latter; 
" for why," says the constitution, " should Germanus magister militum 
be called vacans, when we have intrusted him with a campaign against 
the enemy ? " 9 The honorarii were not so employed. 

A constitution of 372 directed that those having the honorary codi- 
cils of a magister equitum should rank below those decorated with the 
insignia of the proconsulate. 10 

1 C. J. 10, 32, 64; 12, 8, 2. 2 C. Th. 6, 6, 1. 

s C. /. 10, 32, 64, a curiarum nexibus iiel onere. 

4 C. Th. 6, 7, 2 = C. /. 12, 4, 2. 

5 C. Th. 11, 1, 1, 360; CIL. 8120, 4, c. 525. 

6 C. /. 12, 8, 2, 440-441. 

7 (a) vacantes qui praesentes in comitatu illustris dignitatis cinguium meruerint, 
(6) quibus absentibus cinguium illustris mittitur dignitatis, I. c. 

8 Id. 

9 Cur enim aut vir magnificus Germanus magister militum vacans appellatur, cui 
helium contra hastes mandavimus, id. 

10 C. Th. 6, 22, 4. 



142 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

These honorary Masters were illustres, with the specific rank of 
magistri militum, and among the holders of this honorary illustrissi- 
mate they held a position corresponding to that occupied by the ordi- 
nary Masters among the illustres in active service. 1 

The consideration of these titles of honor which the magistri mili- 
tum enjoyed has shown that as early as 372 they were placed in the 
same order of rank as the highest officials of the Empire — the Pre- 
fects. 2 Still the prefecture was held to be the higher dignity; for, in 
380, it was enacted that the retired (privati) Prefects who had occupied 
a military mastership before their prefecture should take precedence 
over those who had held the former office after the latter. 3 

The high position of these Masters is attested by the Notitia Digni- 
tatum also, where they are placed immediately after the Prefects. 
Here we find the order of seniority among the Masters themselves. In 
the East this was (1) magistri equitum et peditum praesentaies duo, 
(2) magister equitum et peditum per Orientem, (3) magister equitum et 
peditum per Thracias, and (4) magister equitum et peditum per Illyri- 
cum. 4 In the West the order was (1) magister peditum in praesenti, 
(2) magister equitum in praesenti, and (3) magister equitum per Gallias.* 

Throughout the fifth century the position of the Masters of the 
Soldiers relatively to the other officials remained unchanged. In the 
sixth century, in 537, they are found with the Prefects and the Patri- 
cians forming the order of the gloriosissimi. 6 However, in Justinian's 
edict of 548 the Master of the Offices, then also a gloriosissimus, is 
mentioned before the magistri militum? which may be an indication 
that the former was then given a position at least as high as that of 
the latter, and that the process was beginning by which the Master- 
ship of the Oifices developed into the highest order of rank in the 
Byzantine Empire. 

We have seen that the magistri militum continued to hold their place 
in the circle of the gloriosissimi through the sixth into the seventh 
century. Thus from the time of their creation until their disappear- 

' C. J. 12, 8, 2. 4 N. D. or. p. 1. 

2 C. Tk. 6, 7, 1 = C. /. 12, 4, 1. 6 N. D. occ. p. 103. 

3 C. Th. 6, 7, 2 = C. J. 12, 4, 2. 6 J. Nov. 62. 

1 Ed. 8, 1, gloriosissimi magistri sacrorum nosirorum qfficiorum sed et gloriosissi- 
morum magislrorum militum. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 143 

ance these Masters, as the chief military officials of the Empire, took 
their place in the highest order of rank with the foremost civil digni- 
taries. 

The Military Aughority of the Magistri Militum. 

The magistri militum, as has been stated before, were appointed to 
command what may well be called the " field army " (comitatenses), in 
contrast to the " fortress troops " (limitanei, riparienses), who were 
quartered in permanent camps along the frontier or at other conven- 
ient points and who were under the orders of the duces or the comites 
rei militaris. 1 The Notitia Dignitatum Orientalium gives the number 
and the character of the troops under the command of the eastern 
Masters at the time of its composition, 2 and similarly the commands of 
the western Masters are given in the Notitia Dignitatum Occidentalium, 3 
where the theoretical distinction between the magister peditum praesen- 
talis and the magister equitum praesentalis is preserved in the attribu- 
tion of cavalry only to the latter and infantry only to the former. 
Regarding the forces of the Masters in Africa, Armenia, Dalmatia and 
Spain, we have no information. 

But this principle of having different commanders over the field 
army and the fortress troops did not remain effective in practice. It 
is possible that during the fourth century the duces suffered little inter- 
ference from the Masters in their control of the limitanei,* but an 
inscription of 365-367 narrates that a fort in Pannonia Inferior was 
built under the supervision of a dux at the direction of a Master. 5 
This shows that the Master exercised some sort of control over the 
dux. Again, in 412, the magister militum per Thracias was ordered to 
attend to the construction and repair of the guard boats on the 
Moesian and Scythian frontier, although these were under the com- 
mand of the local duces. 6 Further, constitutions of 392 7 and 424 s 

1 For comitatenses and limitanei cf. Mommsen, Hermes, XXIV, pp. 195 ff. 
On these comites and duces cf. Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 4, p. 662; 5, p. 1871. 

2 N. D. or. pp. 11, 15, 19, 23, 27. 

8 Id. occ. pp. 121, 129, 135. 4 Cf. Seeck, I. c. 

5 CIL. 3, 10,569, disponente Equitio, v{iro) cQarissimo), comite, mag(istro) equitum 
peditumque, cur ante Augustianio duce. 

6 C. Th. 7, 17, 1. ' Id. 12, 1, 128. 
8 Id. 7, 4, 36, cf. C.J. 1, 46, 3, re the officio of the duces. 



144 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

directed the Masters to control the relations of the duces to the curiales 
and to carry out certain arrangements regarding the allowances of the 
comites. These provisions show a subordination of the duces and the 
comites to the Masters. Moreover, when the magister militum of 
Armenia was appointed the duces of the limites included within his 
command were expressly placed under his authority, 1 and upon the 
reorganization of Africa in 534 the duces there were made subject to the 
orders of the Master in military matters. 2 Accordingly the tendency 
seems to have been for the Masters to gain more and more control over 
the duces and thus over the limitanei. However, it must not be for- 
gotten that the Master of the Offices, after 443, was in charge of the 
material condition of the frontier defences, 3 and that the duces and the 
soldiers at their disposal were dependent upon the Pretorian Prefects 
for their pay and provisionment. 4 

But while the Masters thus won the command over the limitanei, 
another process was going on by which the duces obtained control over 
the comitatenses. A constitution of 400 6 forbidding the duces to trans- 
fer soldiers from the comitatenses and palatini to the limitanei evidently 
presupposes that these officers exercised some authority, even if 
usurped, over the field army. 6 However, in the Notitia the comita- 
tenses appear directly under the command of the Masters and not under 
any duces. But finally, in 492, Anastasius placed the comitatenses in 
every respect under the duces of the various provinces where they were 
quartered. 7 This regulation naturally brought the duces under the 
control of the magistri militum. 

The later phases of the development thus far followed are seen in the 
East only. In the West, by the time of the composition of the Notitia 
(425 at the latest), a unification of control had already taken place 
which has no parallel in the East. The western magister peditum 
praesentalis had acquired a power greatly superior to that of the 
magister equitum praesentalis or of the eastern magistri praesentales. 
This extraordinary power consisted in the command over the duces 

1 C. J. 1, 29, 5. 2 Id. 1, 27, 2. 

3 Th. Nov. 24, 1, 5; C. J. 1, 31, 4. 
< Cf. C. J. 1, 27, 2. 6 C. Th. 7, 1, 18. 

6 Seeck suggests that this control may have been a temporary arrangement, 
Pauly-Wissowa, 5, p. 1872. 

1 C. J. 2, 35, 18; cf. Seeck, I. c. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 145 

and the comites rei militaris of the western half of the Empire. Six 
comites and ten duces were thus under his orders. 1 This officer had 
also the right to appoint many subordinate officers, as the prefects of 
the fleet, of the regular imperial troops and of the barbarian auxiliaries, 
the tribunes of the cohorts and a prefect of a legion. 2 Further, as the 
comitatenses in Gaul are not said to have been under the disposition 
(sub dispositions) of the Master of the Horse in Gaul, but merely to 
have been attached to his command (cum magistro)? Mommsen 4 
maintains that they were really under the command of the Master of 
the Foot in the Presence, and also suggests that the Master in Gaul was 
his appointee. 5 His first theory is probably correct, and the second 
may well have been true in many cases, owing to the extraordinary 
position assumed by the Masters at Rome, but was not held to have 
been an acknowledged right or it would have been mentioned in the 
Notitia. 

This subordination of the comites and the duces, with the troops at 
their orders, to the military authority of the Masters, which was 
brought about, although in different ways, in both parts of the Empire, 
may be regarded as an acknowledgment of the inefficiency of the 
system of Constantine, with its division of authority, to cope with the 
military necessities of the time and to maintain the requisite discipline 
in the army. 

An inscription has been quoted already to show that a Master had 
the right to advise the erection of a fort. 6 And from numerous others 
we see that the building of fortified posts (castella, burgi), 7 and the 
restoration and fortifying of cities, 8 with regard to the military situa- 
tion, fell under the direction of the magistri militum? 

1 These were the comites of Italia, Africa, Tignitania, Tractua Argentoratensis, 
Britannia, and Litus Saxonicum per Britannias; and the duces of Mauretania 
Caesarensis, Tripolitania, Pannonia Secunda, Valeria Ripensis, Pannonia Prima and 
Noricum Ripense, Rhaetia Prima and Secunda, Belgica Secunda, Gennania Prima, 
Britannia and Mogontiacensis. 

2 N. D. occ. p. 215, praefecti classis, militum, laetorum, gentilium, tribuni cohortum, 
praefectus legionis. 

3 Id. p. 135. 6 CIL. 3, 10,596. 

4 Hermes, XXXVI, p. 539. 7 CIL. 3, 88, 3653; 8, 4358, 4677, 4799- 

5 Hermes, XXXIV, p. 264. 8 CIL. 2, 3420; 8, 101. 

9 In CIL. 3, 5678 a Pretorian Prefect directs the building of a burgus, but this is 
exceptional. 



146 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

In addition to the imperial troops mentioned above, the Masters of 
the Soldiers had at their disposal private corps which, although at first 
of no great importance, finally played a very considerable part in the 
military history of the Later Empire. 

These private forces were composed of two classes of troops — 
foederati and Sopv<j>6poi. nai {ncaamaTal. The foederati were troops 
raised by the various Masters who hired the services of these soldiers to 
the state which bore the cost of their maintenance. The 8opv<j>6poi and 
v-KaoTnorai on the other hand, had an even more personal character, 
being recruited by the Master, maintained at his own expense, and 
reckoned as forming part of his household, although taking an oath of 
loyalty to the emperor. The 5opvcf>6poi. were officers and formed the 
bodyguard of their general, while the viraairiaTal were ordinary cavalry 
soldiers. These private forces (comitatus) had assumed formidable 
dimensions by the time of Justinian, Belisarius having 7000 men of 
this sort in his employ 1 and Valerius, a Master in Armenia, over 
iooo. 2 



The Judicial Powers and Priviliges of the Magistri Militum. 

The magistri militum, as well as the comites rei militaris s and the 
duces,' 1 were military judges (Judices militares). The jurisdiction of 
their courts, in common with that of the other military tribunals, was 
strictly limited to persons in the military service (viri militares). 6 
This jurisdiction not only extended over cases of breach of discipline or 
legal actions between soldiers (inter milites) but embraced all civil and 
criminal processes brought against such persons. 6 In fact a soldier 
could not be prosecuted before any other judge, or condemned to punish- 
ment by him. 7 Thus, if a soldier, when in one of the provinces, com- 
mitted a public offence, the provincial governor was directed to keep 

1 Procop. B. G. 1, pp. 282-283 (Bonn). 

2 Id. 2, 27, p. 391. On these personal troops cf. Benjamin, Quaestiones de re 
militari, and Miiller, das Heer Justinians, Philologus, 1012, pp. 114-120. Of course 
other officers than the Masters raised such corps. The latter were called bucellarii 
also, Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 3, p. 936. 

3 C. J. 1, 36, 2, 416. 4 Id. 7, 62, 529. 6 Id. 1, 36, 2. 
6 C. /. 3, 13, 6, 443; 12. 35 (36), 18, 492- 

' Id. 3, 13, 6. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 147 

him in custody and report on his offence and his status to the Master 
of the military diocese in which the province was, but not to try the 
case himself. 1 

As the jurisdiction of the magistri militwm extended over all viri 
militates, and since all who obtained a position in the offices of these 
Masters were reckoned as soldiers (ordinis mUitaris)? these latter also 
fell under the judicial authority of the Masters' courts. 3 However, 
that the number of persons enjoying this privilege might not become 
too great, Theodosius enacted that only 300 employees (apparitores) 
in the office of each of the Masters should be excused from appearing 
in the court of the Pretorian or Urban Prefect without the consent of 
the Master. 4 These 300 were called apparitores statuti} But the 
Masters did not limit the members of their offices to this number and 
Zeno had to enact that others than the statuti serving in these offices 
should be subject to the civil judges. 6 Later Anastasius was obliged 
to call into force again Theodosius' restriction of their numbers to 300 
and to declare that those in excess of this limit could on any charge be 
brought before the Pretorian Prefects or the provincial governors. 7 

Further, if any member of the office of a Master had deserted the 
ranks of the curiales and these, through the provincial governor, sought 
to recover him, a consitution of 412 authorized the investigation and 
decision of the case to be made by this officer who, however, was 
obliged to give notice of the charge to the Master. 8 Later, Theodo- 
sius made a more elaborate provision for the handling of such cases. 
In 441 he enacted that whenever apparitores of a Master's office were 
claimed as curiales or coloni {censibus adscripti) the case was to be 
brought before the court of the Master and also before that of the 
Pretorian Prefect. If the case originated in the Master's court and he 
failed to report it within four months to the Prefect or provincial 
governor, then the Prefect could conduct it himself or delegate it to the 
civil judge. If the case originated before the Prefect he had a like 
obligation to bring it to the notice of the Master. Then these two 

1 Id. 9, 3, 1, 365. 2 Id. 12, 54, 2, Valentianian and Valens. 

3 C. /. 1, 29, 2, 414; Th. Nov. 7, 444; C. J. 12, 54, 5, 491-518. 

4 Th. Nov. 7, 441. 7 Id. 12, 54, 5, 491-518. 
6 C. /. 1, 29, 2, 414. 8 C. Th. 12, 1, 175, 412. 
• Id. 1, 29, 3, 476-485- 



148 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

officials, acting in common, were to reach a decision within three 
months. If such a claim was brought before the provincial governor, 
the latter was to report it to the Prefect and the Master, and then to act 
as the law provided, i. e., try the case as prescribed in the constitution 
of 412. When an apparitor had been so tried and an appeal had been 
granted from the decision, then the case was to be tried anew by the 
Master and the Prefect together, even if the former had previously 
delegated it to a provincial governor. 1 

The jurisdiction of the Masters over the comites rei militaris and the 
duces is implied in a constitution of 3Q3, 2 which decided that, although 
the governor {corrector) of the province of Augustamnica had brought 
contumely upon the dux of the same province and deserved condemna- 
tion therefor, nevertheless, the Master was not to usurp the conduct of 
the case on the ground that the injured party was a vir militaris. The 
general rule for such cases was that the Prefect had the right to try 
cases brought against civil governors even when the plaintiff belonged 
to the military class. 3 In the West, since the comites and duces were 
under the orders of the magister peditum praesentalis early in the fifth 
century, it is probable that from that time they were subject to his 
judicial authority also. When in 492 the duces were placed over the 
troops of the field army in the Orient (the praesentales nwmeri) they 
were under the command of the magistri praesentales and subject to 
their jurisdiction. 4 The courts of these duces were subordinated to 
those of the Masters in the Presence, each of whom sent out an officer, 
called ad responsum, with assistants (adiutores) to advise the duces in 
legal matters. 5 It was forbidden for any one to enter suit against a 
praesentalis both in the court of a dux and of a Master in the Presence, 
or for the same man to be prosecuted at the one time on a civil charge 
in one, and on a criminal charge in the other, court. However, the 
Emperor Leo enacted that the duces, their apparitores, the limitanei 
and the castrorum praepositi should be subject to the jurisdiction of the 
Master of the Offices alone, with an indefinite reservation of the power 
of the magistri militum sanctioned by use and wont in regard to the 

1 Th. Nov. 7, 44i- 2 C. Th. 1, 7, 2. 

3 De ordinario iudice semper inlustris est cognitio praefecturae; licet militari viro 
ab eo facta sit iniuria. C. Th. 1, 5, 10 = C. J. 1, 26, 4, 393. 
* C. J. 12, 3S (36), 18. 6 Id. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 149 

limites of the Orient, Thrace and Illyricum. 1 This would seem to 
indicate that the Masters had acquired a certain judicial authority over 
the duces. 2 But Justinian followed in the footsteps of Leo in ordering 
that an appeal coming from the court of a dux (ducianum indicium), 
even if one having the rank of a Master or consul were the temporary 
judge (magisteriae potestatis nee non consularis), should be received in 
the scrinium epistularum and laid before the Master of the Offices and 
the Quaestor in common. 3 

Therefore, in the East the magistri militum seem to have had juris- 
diction over the duces and comites rei militaris in so far as the latter 
were under the direct military authority of the Masters, being in com- 
mand of the troops of the field army in their respective provinces. 
They do not, however, appear to have had the same power, except by 
usurpation, over the duces as commanders of the limitanei, as the 
limites were supervised by the Master of the Offices, 4 who had judicial 
competence over their commanders. Further, a tendency on the part 
of the Masters to incroach upon the civil jurisdiction is noticeable in 
connection with the apparitores to whom the Masters gave the benefits 
of their courts even when they were in excess of the prescribed number. 
Also the attempts on the part of the curiales and coloni to enter the 
service of these military officials is a testimony to the desire of these 
classes to escape from their burdens as well as to the protection that the 
military classes enjoyed against the oppression of the fiscal authorities. 

From the court of the magistri militum, as from those of all other 
officials, appeal could be made to the emperor. 5 The Masters might 
also refer cases to the emperor for his decision. 6 

Prosecutions brought against the magistri militum were regulated by 
the law of Anastasius in regard to procedure against illustres of similar 
rank. 7 The substance of this law is as follows. A distinction was 
made between those who had actually served as masters and those 
who had only received the honorary title as vacantes or honorarii. 
The former in public and private suits were under the jurisdiction 
of the emperor in person, or the cognitor appointed to represent him 

1 C. /. 12, S9 (60), 8. * C. J. 7, 62, 38, 529. 

2 Cf. Karlowa, R. R. i, p. 862. * Th. Nov. 24, 1, 5; C. J. i, 31, 4. 
6 C. Th. 11, 30, 30, 362, expanded in C. J. 7, 67, 2. 

6 C. J. 6, 6i, s, 473. 1 C. J. 3, 24, 3, 48S-486 (?). 



150 Arthur Edward Romitty Boak 

in the case under examination. The vacantes and honorarii had to 
appear before the regular civil judges. 

The investigation by the -cognitor was conducted in the same manner 
as the imperial inquest, 1 and the necessary secretaries and clerks were 
furnished by the scrinium libellorum, and not by the officium or schola 
of any high officer. The reason for these regulations was probably 
that the cognitor was acting vice imperatoris and nothing was to be done 
in a way that would suggest that any official other than the emperor 
himself had judicial competence over these Masters. Accordingly the 
Masters were allowed to sit in any part of the court room (secretarium) 
they chose, provided that it was lower than the place of the judge and 
higher than that of their accusers, until the charge against them had 
been proven. 2 Even when the charge was proven the cognitor could 
not deliver sentence but had to refer the matter to the emperor for his 
decision. 3 If the prosecution failed, the accuser had to undergo the 
punishment for contumelia in accordance with the regular statutes, 
unless he were of equal rank with the defendant. In this case the 
matter was in the hands of the emperor. 

Regarding the vacantes and honorarii the law distinguished between 
those resident in Constantinople and those living in the provinces. 

The former, in criminal cases, appeared before the Pretorian or 
Urban Prefect, or, in special circumstances, before the Master of the 
Offices. They had not the privilege of remaining seated during the 
trial. However, these judges were also incompetent to render a 
decision when the accusation had been proven, unless the question had 
first been referred to the emperor. 

But in criminal suits brought against the honorary Masters in the 
provinces, the latter had the right to be seated in the court. The 
judges of such suits are not specified but seem to have been the ordinary 
provincial authorities. Judgment was given in these cases in accord- 
ance with the reply (responsum) made by the emperor to a report 
(relatio) informing him of the results of the trial. The punishment 
of unsuccessful accusers for calumny only rested with the provincial 

1 More atque habilu sacrorum consultationum, absque nulla videlicet observatione 
dierum fatalium, id. 

2 Quae iudicibus inferior, altercantibus vero superior, indeatur, id. 

' Ultionis autem tantis inferendae dignitatibus non nisi in principis residebil 
arbitrio, id. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 151 

judges when the former were of similar rank with, or lower than, 
themselves. 

These regulations only covered criminal cases. In civil suits, there- 
fore, the vacantes and honorarii, unlike the administratores, were subject 
in all respects to the ordinary tribunals. 



The Further Competence of the Magistri Mttitum. 

As a result of their command over the army the magistri militum 
acquired an extensive field of action in matters concerning the condi- 
tion of the troops in general and the relations between the soldiers and 
ordinary citizens (provinciates). Upon these points the constitutions 
issued to the Masters give much information. 

The recruitment of soldiers was subject to the supervision of the 
Masters, 1 but a constitution of Zeno directed that, while the Masters 
were to announce the number of recruits necessary, they should enroll 
none but those having the imperial probatoria? The penalty for the 
violation of this order was fixed at one hundred pounds of gold. 

Also questions relating to veterans, 3 promotion, 4 the inheritances of 
soldiers dying intestate, 5 the abuse of commeatus 6 and hospitium, 7 
the restraining of soldiers from occupying public lands, 8 from engaging 
in private business, 9 their general relations with the provincials, 10 and 
the relations of the tribuni, duces and comites to the curiales, u were 
settled by the authority of the magistri militum. 

For the maintenance of the troops the Masters were dependent upon 
the Prefects, in accordance with the general scheme for the division of 
civil and military authority and the limitation of the power of impor- 
tant officials. 12 However, the Masters exercised a superintendance over 
the distribution of the allowances furnished by the civil authorities, 13 

1 C. Th. 7, 1, 8; C. J. 11, 68, 3; 12, 33, 3- 

2 C. J. 12, 35, 17. The allotment of the obligation to furnish recruits was in the 
hands of the civil authorities. 

3 C. Th. 7, 28, o, 11, 12. * Id. 7, 1, 7. * Id. 5,6, 1. 
6 Id. 7, 1, 12. » Id. 7, o, 3. » Id. 2, 31, 1. 
9 Id. 1, 21, 1; C. /. 4, 65, 31; 12, 35, 15. 

10 C. Th. 3, 14, 1; 7, 7, 3. 

11 Id. 12, 1, 128. " Zos. 2, 33, 5. 
a C. Th. 7, 1, 11; C.J. 12, 37,16. 



152 Arthur Edward Romilly Boak 

and, to keep a check upon peculation, the account books with the 
record of this allotment were subject to the supervision of the principes 
in the offices of the Masters. 1 The distribution of the annona in the 
form of money, instead of in kind, to such officers as so desired it, came 
likewise under the cognizance of the magistri militum? 

For some time prior to 415 these Masters, together with the Master 
of the Offices, had exercised, perhaps by usurpation, the right of ap- 
pointment to the praepositurae minoris laterculi? In that year, how- 
ever, the previous system was re-established to a certain degree, and 
the nomination to forty of these posts was recovered for the Quaestor. 4 
Apparently this arrangement still left some of these appointments in 
the hands of the Masters. 

Originally the authority of the magistri militum was confined to the 
viri militares alone, while the Prefects exercised full authority over the 
provinciates. 5 But the constitutions of the fifth century contain direc- 
tions for the Masters in the West regarding such matters as the enforce- 
ment of the papal authority on the Gallic bishops, 6 the ecclesiastical 
courts 7 and the selling of children by their parents. 8 And in the next 
century in the East, besides constitutions regulating the military 
organization of Africa, 9 and defining the authority of the dux of Lycia 
and Lycaonia, 10 an edict dealing with an ordinary civil suit was ad- 
dressed to a magister militum} 1 Thus we see that everywhere the 
military authority tended to encroach upon the civil, a tendency which 
has been seen more clearly in the province of Africa, where the Master 
was regularly at the same time Prefect, or, if not, was at least the 
superior official. 12 

However, Justininan decided that in matters pertaining to taxation 
the Proconsul of Cappadocia should have authority over the subordi- 
nates of the magister militum, 1 * with the apparent intention of keeping 
all matters of a fiscal nature out of the hands of the military authorities. 

1 C. J. 12, 37, 9. 6 Vol. Nov. 17. 

2 C. Th. 7, 4, 36. 7 Maior. Nov. 11, de episcopali iudicio. 

3 Praepositi, tribuni, praefecti. 8 "Vol. Nov. 33. 

4 C. Th. 1, 6, 1. 9 C. J. 1, 27, 2. 

6 C. J. 1, 29. I0 /. Nov. 145- n Id. S3- 

12 Diehl, L'Afrique Byzantine, pp. 117, 122,471,472; ci. magister militium Africae. 

13 J. Nov. 30, 6, 1. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 153 

The Bureaus of the Magistri MUitum. 

The bureaus or offices (officia) of the magistri mUitum as constituted 
in the early fifth century are given in the Notitia Dignitatum. The 
general composition of all the bureaus was the same, although there 
were slight differences in the number, names, and method of appoint- 
ment of the subordinates in the several offices. 

Regarding the offices of the magister mUitum praesentalis I in the 
Orient, of the magister per Thracias, and of the magister per Illyricum, 
the Notitia says that the officiates serving in these bureaus were selected 
from the ranks of the soldiers, retained their military status and only 
acted in the bureaus as long as required. 1 

The members of the offices of the remaining two Masters in the 
Orient, the magister militum praesentalis II and the magister per 
Orientem, on the contrary, are said to have not been recruited from 
among the regular soldiers but to have been associated permanently 
with the person of their Master and not enrolled in any of the corps of 
troops on active service. 2 

The reason for this distinction in the composition of the offices is 
not clear, nor is anything said on this point regarding the offices of 
the Masters in the West. There, however, as will be seen, the office 
of the magister equitum per Gallias was partly manned by appointees of 
the magistri in praesenti. In the East the Masters in the Presence did 
not enjoy any such privilege with respect to the other Masters. 

The offices were composed of the following members. 

(a) Princeps. — At the head of each bureau was a princeps, in whose 
hands was the general supervision of the office. He held the list of the 
members of the bureau, had the right to grant them leave of absence, 
received a share of the fees paid to the office, executed in person 
the important orders of the Master, and, in addition to official 

1 Officium autem superscriptae magisteriae in numeris militat et in officio deputatur, 
N. D. or. pp. 14, 26, 30. 

2 Officium autem superscriptae magisteriae potestatis cardinale habetur, N. D. or. 
pp. 18, 22. 

Gothofredus on C. Th. 12, 6, 7, explaining cardo by nhrpov, quod fixum et 
immobile est, writes — igitur cardinale officium hie quod fixum et immotum in cardine 
suo, magislro mUitum, inquam, non vero per nummos militares quomodo tria ilia magis- 
trorum militum officia. Cf. Booking, N.D. 1, p. 205. 



154 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

assistants {adiutor es), had the right to employ private ones (domestici) 
himself. 1 

It is specifically mentioned that the account books recording the 
distribution of allowances to the soldiers and prepared by the officers of 
the Prefects were checked by these principes. 2 

In the office of the magister equitum per Gallias the princeps was an 
annual appointee, deputed alternately from the bureau of the magister 
peditum praesentalis and that of the magister equitum praesentalis? 
Thus the office of the Master in Gaul was really under the control of 
the Masters in the Presence and a powerful check was placed upon the 
activities of the former, and an apparent centralization of the military 
command was maintained in this way. 

(b) Numerarii. — Next to the princeps came two numerarii or 
accountants in the offices of the East and in Gaul, but only one in those 
of the magistri praesentales of the West. 4 Of the accountants in the 
office of the Master in Gaul one was deputed from each of the offices of 
the Masters in the Presence. 6 The policy here was the same as that 
governing the appointment of the princeps. The duty of the numerarii 
was to keep the accounts of the office. Zeno, upon being petitioned by 
the offices, fixed the term of service (actus) of these accountants at one, 
in place of two, years. 6 

(c) Commentariensis. — A third official was the commentariensis or 
recorder. 7 This clerk had charge of the records of the bureau, espe- 
cially of those referring to matters of criminal jurisdiction. 8 

(d) Adiutor. — After the recorder there appears, in the offices of the 
western Masters and in that of the Master in the Orient, an adiutor. 
The other bureaus lack this member. The adiutor was the assistant 
of the princeps and shared his duties. 

1 Lecrivain, Daremberg et Saglio, 4, pp. 155-159, chiefly inferred from what is 
known of the principes of the offices of other officials. 

2 C. J. 12, 37, 9, 398. 

3 N. D. occ. p. 137, ex officiis magistrorum militum praesentalium, uno anno a 
parte peditum, alio a parte equitum. 

4 N. D. occ. pp. 115, I28 - 5 Id- P- '37- 6 C. J. 12, 49, 11. 

7 In the office of the Master in Gaul he ranks above the numerarii, N. D. occ. 

P- 137- 

8 Lecrivain, Daremberg et Saglio, 4, p. 157. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 155 

(e) Primi Scrinii. — The Masters in the Presence in the Orient and 
the Masters in Thrace and Illyricum had in their offices clerks called 
primi scrinii. These were the heads of the departments or scrinia, 
into which the subordinates of the offices were divided for the more 
efficient handling of the business of the bureaus. 1 At the end of their 
service these primi scrinii might be promoted to the rank of numerarii. 2 

(/) Scriniarii. — All the eastern, but none of the western offices had 
scriniarii. These were the clerks organized in the scrinia under the 
primi scrinii. 

(g) Mensores. — Mensores appear only in the office of the Master in 
the Orient. They seem to have acted as quartermasters, whose duties 
were in connection with the marking out of sites for encampments. 3 
Perhaps " surveyors " would be an adequate translation of their title. 

(h) Regerendarius. — The western offices were equipped with 
officials known as regerendarii. There was one in each office, ranking 
next to the adiutor. The regerendarii apparently had charge of the 
despatch and delivery of documents by means of the state post (cursus 
publicus).* 

(i) Exceptores. — All the offices had exceptores who were the clerks 
who wrote documents from dictation. 

0) Ceteri Apparitores. — Likewise each office had other apparitor es, 
as the members of these bureaus were generally called. 5 Their special 
functions, if they had such, are not defined. Mention is made else- 
where a of chartularii of a Master, who must have been included among 
the apparitores. 

It has been pointed out that in some of the bureaus of the Masters 
the members were deputed for this clerical service from the ranks of the 

1 L6crivain, 0. c. p. 158. 

2 Primi scrinii qui numerarii fiunt, N. D. or. passim. 

3 The imperial mensores had the duty of quartering the imperial suite, C. Th. 7, 8, 

4, 393- 

4 Cf. regerendarius in Daremberg et Saglio, 4, p. 817. 

5 Cf. C. J. 12, 54, de apparitoribus magistrorum militum et privilegiis eorum. 

6 C. Th. 8, 7, s, 354. Their duties are not certain although they seem to have had 
something to do with the annona and with the lists of the soldiers on active service, 
Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 3, p. 2193. 



156 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

regular soldiery and that in others they were recruited elsewhere. 
Naturally those drawn from the active units belonged to the military 
class, but at one time the others were not included in the ordo miliiaris. 1 
However, in 441, Valentinian III decided that all who obtained service 
in the offices of the Masters became, ipso facto, viri militares. 2 Their 
names were put on the roll (matricula) of the office and this constituted 
their enrolment in the ordo militaris. 3 

Curiales, cohortales, and censibus adscripti were excluded from the 
apparitores. As we have seen, a special form of enquiry was provided 
under the joint authority of the Prefects and the Masters to consider 
the cases of those who had joined a Master's office and were denounced 
as belonging to these classes. 4 However, if a curialis had served as a 
chartularius for twenty-five years, he could claim the privilege of the 
military class {privilegium militiae), and all charttdarii who had, at any 
time or on any ground, received a sanction of their presence in the 
offices (probaii quacunque ratione vel quocunque tempore), were entitled 
to continue in the service. A special provision was made in this con- 
nection for ministeriales, paedagogiani and sUentariif for whom fifteen 
years of service annulled all former obligations. 6 

Since the members of these offices from 441 were included in the ordo 
militaris, they could claim the privilege of the jurisdiction of the mag- 
istri militum. But it has been seen that the number of those entitled 
to enjoy this right was limited to 300, the so-called statuti, while the 
rest were under the jurisdiction of the civil judges, 7 and Anastasius 
ordered that the scriniarii or apparitores, although enrolled in the 
offices of the Masters, could not make use of the ius militare in the 
matter of wills. 8 

1 This is implied clearly by C. Th. 12, 6, 6, 365, his, qui in officio magistrorum 
equitum el pediium militarunt, si quidem ordinis sint militaris. C. J. 12, 52, 2 has 
altered sint to sortiti sint. 

2 C. J. 12, S3, 2. s Id. 6, 21, 16. 
4 Th. Nov. 7, 4, 441. 

6 Ministeriales and paedagogiani were subordinates of the castrensis, C. Th. 8, 7, 
5. Silentarii were court chamberlains, C. J. 12, 16. 

« C. Th. 8, 7, 5, 354- 

7 Th. Nov. 7, 4; C. /. 1, 29, 3; 12, 54, 5. 

8 C. J. 6, 21, 16. The privilege of making a military testament was limited by 
C. J. 6, 21, 17, his solis qui in expeditionibus occupati sunt. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 157 

The officiates were excused from the duty of acting as suscriptores, 
i. e., from being deputed to collect the annona for the support of the 
troops in the various provinces. 1 In 354 a constitution restricted the 
right of adoratio to those members of the offices who had actually 
served under arms and accompanied their detachments on active 
service. 2 

The regular soldiers (numerarii) in the offices of the Masters were 
placed on an equal footing with the tribuni praetoriani, so that, after 
the completion of their service, they enjoyed immunity from all ex- 
traordinary requisitions at the hands of civil or military governors. 3 
Those who were principes ranked with the military tribunes of the 
watch (tribuni militares vigUum). 4, In common with the members of 
other offices, those in the service of the magistri militum were at times 
given the honorary rank of ex protectoribus by an imperial rescript. 6 

In the West the comites rei militaris and the duces of the several 
provinces received, as did the Master in Gaul, the principes and 
numerarii of their respective offices from the bureaus of the Masters in 
the Presence. 6 Further, it was a general rule in the West that the 
officials so detailed from the central offices were sent in equal numbers 
or in alternate years from the bureaus of the magister peditum praesen- 
talis and of the magister equitum praesentalis. In some cases however, 
they were despatched from the former office only. 

Thus the comites of Africa, Tignitania, Mauretania and Britain, 
with the duces of Raetia, Tractus Amoricus and Britain, received their 
principes from the Masters in the Presence alternately, their com- 
mentariensis in a similar manner and one of their two numerarii from 
each of the central offices. 7 The duces of Tripolitana, Pannonia 
Secunda, Valeria and Pannonia Prima received their principes in the 

1 C. Th. 8, 31 = C. /. 12, 54, 1; C. Th. 12, 6, 6, = C. /. 12, 54, 2. 

2 C. Th. 8, 7, 4. * Id. 

3 C. /. 12, 54, 4, 441. 5 c Th _ 8j 7> 3i 34g- 

6 C. Th. 1, 3, 7. In the East these principes were deputed from the schola of the 
agentes in rebus, cf. N. D. or. passim. 

7 N. D. occ. pp. 175, 178, 183, 185, 201, 205, 212. In the case of the dux Tractus 
Amoricani there appears but one numerarius, a parte peditum uno anno. Becking, 
in his edition, completes — altero a parte equitum; while Seeck reads omni anno. 
The latter, under the dux Britanniae, reads duo numerarii ex utrisque ojficiis omni 
anno. 



158 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

same way as the officers just mentioned, but nothing is said about their 
other clerks. 1 The dux Mogontiacius had his princeps appointed as the 
former, but his numerarius and commenlariensis were always delegated 
from the office of the magister peditum. 2 Finally, the comes Litoris 
Saxonii received all his officiates from the bureau of the latter Master 
only. 3 

The effect of this arrangement was the subordination of the offices of 
the duces and the comites in the West to the magistri praesentales, who 
in this way controlled to a certain extent the actions of the comites and 
duces themselves. Naturally, when there was only one magister 
praesentalis, as was the case in the fifth century, all the appointments 
issued from his office only. This system of nominating the staff of 
the provincial commanders was in harmony with the method of their 
own appointment through the magister peditum praesentalis. On the 
contrary, in the East the Master of the Offices controlled the appoint- 
ment of the principes of the duces and comites 4 and thus supervised the 
working of their offices. 

The Domestici of the Magistri Militum. 

In addition to these assistants who have just been considered the 
magistri militum had in their employ domestici. These domestici were 
not given a place in the offices nor do they appear in the Notitia, 
although they are frequently referred to in the Codes. The reason for 
this may be that the domestici, being appointed at the pleasure of their 
Masters, were regarded theoretically as holding no official position but 
as acting in an entirely personal relation to the officials who employed 
them. 5 These domestici are recorded by Ammianus for as early as 3S5. 6 

Whatever the theory regarding his position may have been, in prac- 
tice the domesticus took an active share in the administration of a 
magister militum and enjoyed in a high degree his confidence and 
esteem. He was regarded as being a sharer in the secret councils of 

1 Id. pp. 187, 191, 195. Seeck suggests that the remaining officiates were ap- 
pointed in similar manner. 

2 Id. p. 214. 3 Id. p. 181. 
4 Cf. N. D. or. passim. 

6 Seeck, Pauly-Wissowa, 5, pp. 1296 ff. Cf. C. J. 1, 51, 4, 404. 
6 IS, 6, 1. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 159 

his Master, 1 and Heraclianus married his daughter to his domesticus. 2 
The magister militum Sarus revolted against Honorius because the 
emperor did not exact punishment for the murder of Belleridus, the 
Master's domesticus. 3 

These domestici also handled the receipts of the Masters' offices, 4 
and were concerned with the distribution of the annona. 6 In fact the 
domestici sometimes directed the general conduct of the office of their 
patrons and were also given independent commands. 6 However, this 
increase of power on the part of the domestici is a later development in 
the Orient and does not appear in the West. 

The domesticus was thus rather a member of the retinue (oifcia) 
than of the bureau of the Master. 7 His authority was derived from 
the Master himself and not through imperial appointment but owing 
to his proximity to the Master's person he naturally assumed a more 
and more official position and obtained formal recognition of the 
actual power that he exercised. 

Privileges of the Magistri Militum. 

The magistri militum in the East had the right to issue a limited 
number of evectiones, or passes, entitling the bearer to use the state 
post (cursus publicus). The two Masters in the Presence and those in 
Thrace and Ulyricum were restricted to fifteen for each year, but the 
Master in the Orient was allowed twenty-five. 8 The Notitia does not 
record this privilege for the Masters in the West, although it would be 
strange if they did not enjoy it. 

1 Amm. 15, 6, 1 ; Procop. B. V., p. 326 (Bonn), 6 Si &Teoppt)TWv" kovap trjrri kchxkwos 
elvcu (Soii&rTucdv Si toBtoj< KaXoixn rg <r<pcTtp</. y\iixra<f 'PupaToi). 

2 Orosius, 1, 42, 11. 

s Olympiodorus, fr. 1 7 in FHG. 4, p. 61 , Ijv Si djiwrds 'Ovopiov oti BeXXe/ujou, Ss rpi 
ain^ SoptariKOs, CLi/cupedhros, ovSels \6yos ri# /SacrtXel ttjs dcaipto a»s obSi toB <fx>vov 
ylverai e!cnrpa{«. 

4 Malchus, fr. 16 in FHG. 4, p. 123, a. 479, robs vpoaywyias t&v \i)iiiilm)v Ttjs 
&PXVS< »is Sonerrtois KaXoucrt Pujucuot. 

6 C. J. 12, 37, 19, 4. 

6 Proc, B. V., p. 204 (Bonn), &pxojt« Si fjaav . . . koi "Lohbpoiv 5j t^k BeXto-aptou 
hrtpbreut arparriylav (SopitOTiKAv tovtop KaXoCffi Pu^aiot). 

' Benjamin, das Heer Justinians, p. 26 on the oUia. 

8 N. D. or. pp. 11, 18, 19, 23, 27. 



160 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

Again, in common with most of the other high officials the Masters 
were accorded exemption from furnishing recruits or horses for the 
army from their estates. 1 Since many of these officers were large 
proprietors this privilege was of great value to themselves and also of 
advantage to the tenants on their domains. 

The Official Career of the Magistri Militum. 

The magistri militum were naturally promoted from among the 
military officers of lower rank. In the fourth century their regular 
eursus honorum seems to have been tribunus, dux or comes, magister 
militum? Sometimes, however, the Masters were advanced directly 
from the tribunate without any intervening step. 3 Under Justinian 
the principle remained the same and the Masters were regularly pro- 
moted from among the duces. 4 The r61e played by barbarian princes 
in the guise of magistri militum belongs to the general history of the 
times and need not be enlarged upon here. 

The chief phases in the history of the office of magister militum may 
be summed up in the following manner. The magistri militum were 
the outcome of an effort to separate the military from the civil au- 
thority and, by creating a sort of balance of power among the highest 
officials in the state, to check the aspirations of rivals for the imperial 
power. At first there were but two such Masters, one the commander- 
in-chief of the infantry and the other of the cavalry. Then, with the 
epoch of two emperors the number of Masters was doubled, and a 
change took place in the nature of their office whereby they received 
the command over both branches of the service. This resulted in a 

1 C. Th. ii, 18, i, 409. 

2 E. g., Aequitius, tribunus (Amm. 26, 1, 4), comes (26, 5, 3), magister (26, 7, 11); 
Arintheus, tribunus (15, 4, 10), dux (24, 1, 2), magister (26, 5, 2), magister peditum 
(27, 5, 4); Dagalaifus, comes (21, 8, 1), magister (26, 1, 6); Julius, comes (26, 7, 5), 
magister (31, 16, 18); Lucillianus, comes (14, 11, 14), magister (21, 9, 5); Theodosius, 
tribunus, dux (27, 8, 3), magister (28, 5, 15); Trianus, comes (29, 1, 2), magister (29, 

5, I)- 

s Agilo, tribunus (Amm. 14, 10, 8; 20, 5, 2), magister (id.); Silvanus, tribunus, 
(15, s), magister (22, 3, 11). From Amm. 16, 6, 1, Arbitio, a gregario ad magnum 
militiae rectus (magister, 14, 11, 2), one is not to infer that Arbitio was promoted 
from the ranks to the mastership without any intervening grades. 

4 Miiller, Philologus, 1912, p. 105. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 161 

corresponding change in their title so that they were no longer magistri 
peditum or equitum but magistri mttitum. At the same time, the num- 
ber of the Masters was increased and a definite district was assigned to 
each for his command so that any one Master could no longer exercise 
his authority throughout the whole empire. However, the political 
and military situation enabled the holders of one of the masterships in 
the West to absorb or overshadow the power of their colleagues, and 
thus arose a series of " kingmakers " which ended only when a Master 
ascended the throne in the person of Theodoric. Attempts to bring 
about a similar change in the relations of the eastern Masters were 
made, notably by Aspar the Alan, but remained unsuccessful. In this 
half of the Roman world the final stage in the history of the office was 
reached when, either through a reunion of the civil and military power 
the character of the mastership was again changed and consequently a 
new title therefor adopted, as in Italy and Africa, or by a division of the 
commands of the Masters into smaller districts called themes, under 
officers called Strategoi, as in the more easterly provinces of the 
Empire, the masterships were finally abolished. 

Thus we see that the creation of this office was an experiment fatal 
to the Roman power in the West, where, instead of putting a check 
upon the appearance of pretenders to the throne, it facilitated the rise 
of new ones before whom the Empire finally succumbed. And in the 
East this system in the end showed itself incapable of meeting the 
military requirements of the wars against the barbarian invaders. It 
gave place to one which removed the endless conflicts of power neces- 
sarily arising from the contact of civil and military officials who had 
the same rank and were mutually dependent upon each other for the 
successful performance of their duties. 1 

Recapitulation 

We have now seen how the title of Master was adopted for military, 
as well as civil, officials of the Empire. However, during the period of 
the Principate it was confined to various subaltern officers, none of 
whom ranked higher than a centurion. Even in the Later Empire the 
title never obtained in military circles the wide-spread usage that was 

1 Cf. Gelzer, Themenverfassung, p. 7. 



162 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

given to it in the civil departments, being chiefly confined to a small 
group of high officers with similar rank and functions. Between the 
titles of these earlier and later Masters there seems to have been no 
connection, but apparently a conscious revival of the name of an old 
republican office was effected. Further, as the title of the magistri 
militum was translated and not, as that of the Master of the Offices, 
transcribed into Greek, it ceased to exist in the Byzantine Empire. 
However, in the West, after the disappearance of the old office of 
magister militum, it continued in use, denoting the commanders of the 
military forces in Italian cities and districts, who, however, have not 
been considered, as they appeared later than the period with which 
this study deals. 

The history of the use of the title Master as an imperial official 
designation has thus been traced in connection with the discussion of 
the masterships in the civil and military service respectively. On the 
basis of this examination of the masterships it seems impossible to 
formulate any principle which in specific cases can be said to have 
determined the employment of this title. The general adaptability of 
the word magister to denote any one who had the control over some 
administrative or executive department, in which he exercised au- 
thority over a larger or smaller number of subordinates, alone accounts 
for its wide-spread use as a title in imperial official circles. 



Roman Magistri in the Service of the Empire 163 

AN INDEX TO THE INSCRIPTIONS RECORDING MAGISTRI IN 
THE CWIL AND MILITARY SERVICE OF THE EMPIRE 

I. — Magistri in the Imperial Civil Service 

Magisler XX Heredilalium. — Wilmanns, Exempla Inscriptionum Lalinarum, 1293, 

Lugdunum. 
Promagister XX Hereditatium. — CIL. 6, 1620, Rome. 

8, 20,684, Saldae, Mauretania. 
9» S83S, S836, Auximum. 
11, 1326, Luna. 

Promagister Hereditatium. — CIL. 13, 1810, Lugdunum. 

Promagister Frumenti Mancipalis, Promagister Portuum. — CIL. 3, 14,195, nos. 

4-13 Ephesus. 
Magisler Privatae. — CIL. 3, 12,043, I2 ,o44 (= 13,059), Crete, 314 a.d. 

5, 2781, Patavium. 

6, 1630, Rome. 
8, 822, Turca. 

Magister Privatae Egypti et Libyae. — CIL. 3, 18, Alexandria. 
Magister Summarum Rationum. — CIL. 8, 822, Turca = Bulletin du Comite, 1893, 

p. 214. 

6, 1618, Rome. 
Magister Memoriae. — CIL. 6, 570, 376 a.d.; 1764; 8621; Rome. 

12, 1524, Ager Vocontiorum. 
Magisler Epistularum. — CIL. 6, 570, Rome. 

Ephemeris Epigraphica, 7, 262, Thubursicum Bure, Africa 
Proconsularis. 
Magister Libellorum. — CIL. 6, 570, 1628, Rome. 

10, 4721, Ager Falerinus. 
Magister Sacrarum Cognitionum. — CIL. 5, 8972, Aquileia. 

6, 570, Rome. 
Magister Studiorum. — CIL. 6, 1608, 1704, 8638, Rome. 

10, 4721, Ager Falerinus. 
Magister Officiorum. — CIL. 8, 989, Missua. 
Magister Admissionum. — CIL. 14, 3457, Sublaqueum. 

Magister Portorii (?) or Pretorii (?) — Cagnat, Inscriptions Graecae ad res Romanas 

pertinentes, 3, 1229. 

II. — Magistri in the Military Service of the Empire 
Magister Ballistarius. — CIL. 5, 6632, Ager Novariensis. 
Magister Cohortis. — CIL. 3, 10, 307, Intercisa. 
Magister Equilum. — CIL. 5, 8278, Aquileia. 



164 Arthur Edward Romilly Book 

Magister Kampi (?). — CIL. 8, 2562, Lambaesis, aet. Alex. Sev. 
Magister Numeri. — CIL. 8, 21,568, Mauretania Caesarensis. 
Magister Castri (?). — CIL. 7, 268, Isurium. 

8, 4354, 678-682 A.D., Numidia. 
Magister Militum. — CIL. 2, 4320, 589-590 a.d., Carthago Nova. 

3> 88, 371 a.d., Arabia Petra. 

3» 3653> 371, A.D., Salva, Pannonia. 

3, 4668, 4669, 4670, Carnutum. 

3, 56700, 370 a.d., Fafina, Noricum. 

3, 6399, Salonae, Dalmatia. 

3, 10,596, Pannonia Inferior. 

3, 11,376, Carnutum. 

5, 8120, 3, Cremona. 

5, 8120, 4, c. 525 A.D., Milan. 

6, 1188, 1189, 1190, 1731, 1732, 1734, 3 I .9 I 4- Nos. 
I 73 I-I 734, 405-408 a J)., Rome. 

6, 32,050, 589 a.d., Rome. 

8, 101, aet. Justiniani, Capsa. 

8, 259, id. Sufes. 

8, 1863, id. Therveste. 

8, 4354, 578-582 a.d., Ain Ksar, Numidia. 

8, 4677, aet. Just. Madura. 

8, 4799, id. Gadianfala. 

9, 4051, 398-408 a.d., Carseoli. 

Dessau, Inscriptions Latinae Selectae, 92170, 6, Rus- 
guniae, Mauretania.